Scientists Say Humans Swallow A 'Credit Card's Worth' Of Plastic Each Week

You may be eating a credit card's worth of plastic each week- study

You may be eating a credit card's worth of plastic each week- study

A typical person may be ingesting 5g of microplastics every week, or the equivalent of the weight of a credit card.

Shellfish was another big source.

"For the first time, this study offers precise estimations on the amounts of plastic ingested by humans", Dr Thava Palanisami, who took part in the study, tells the Brussels Times.

Coming mostly from the tap and especially bottled water, almost invisible bits of polymer were also found in shellfish, beer and salt, scientists and the University of Newcastle in Australia reported.

Humans can be exposed to plastic particles via consumption of seafood and terrestrial food products, drinking water and via the air.

The study, undertaken at the University of Newcastle in Australia, analyzed the available data from 55 existing studies on the topic. Not only are plastics polluting oceans and waterways and killing marine life, Lambertini said that it is in all consumers and humans can not escape consuming plastics.

Shellfish is the second biggest source of plastic ingestion, with the average person consuming as many as 182 microparticles - 0.5 grams - from this per week.

What is the health risk? The findings are an important step towards understanding the impact of plastic pollution on humans.

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While being mindful of the limitations of this evolving field of research, initial findings point towards a global average ingestion rate of plastic by humans of approximately five grams per week.

The said that studies have shown that the inhalation of plastic fibres appears to produce inflammation of the respiratory tract.

"Plastic is not a particularly harmful material, however there is the potential that it does significant harm", Lampitt said, adding that further research is needed into the impact of long-term plastic exposure.

Will ingesting plastics damage your health?

While the amount of plastic pollution varies by location, nowhere is untouched, and the USA reported the highest levels with 94.4% of tap water samples containing plastic fibres and an average of 9.6 fibres per litre.

"We can not just remove it", Kavita Prakash-Mani, global conservation director at WWF International, told CNN.

Globally, more than 330 million metric tons of plastic is produced each year, and global plastic production is expected to triple by 2050.

"We need urgent action at government, business and consumer levels, and a global treaty with global targets to address plastic pollution", Lambertini said.

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