McNeil described in alarming detail not only the danger microplastics pose for the environment and living ecosystems but also how they are finding their way into our bodies.
McNeil states that microplastics can be broken down from larger pieces, and in three forms.
They are more common than you might think.
Studies have shown that large amounts of almost microscopic plastic, as small as pollen grains, can be found all over the wild lands of the United States. National parks in the westTo the pristine wastes High Arctic. They swirl in the great Pacific, and they are plentiful in the oceans. Garbage patchAmong other famous gyres.
McNeil’s talk in Akron was focused on land-based microplastics exposure and two main sources of fibers and particles.
She said that washing laundry is a major source of microplastic pollution. Fresh water systemsParticularly the washing and drying of fleece materials. Fortunately Congress 2015Plastic microbeads were banned from facial scrubs. However, tiny plastic fibers found in fleece jackets, blankets and snuggly clothes create a soup of microplastics every time you wash your laundry. These particles can get into our bodies through water we drink and food we eat like fish and shellfish.
McNeil also identified cars as a major source for microplastics, focusing on wear from rubber tires. She estimates that 1.5 billion vehicles around the world produce 4.0 millions tons of synthetic fibers each year. This is due to the friction caused by driving on roads.
She said that washing your clothes and driving are the worst things you can do to release microplastics into our environment.
However, the number of microplastics we consume is the most shocking statistic.
McNeil said that the average person probably gets five grams of plastic every week from what they eat and drink.
“This is equivalent to having a credit card every other week,” she explained.
Even the act of breathing indoors can have serious consequences.
“In one study, they found that you inhale about 68,000 microplastics per annum on average through your breathing.
McNeil claims that the health effects from microplastic ingestion and inhalation remain unclear. However, preliminary studies have shown these tiny inert pieces can get stuck in organ systems such as the liver, kidneys, and brain. This can lead to chronic inflammation and other health problems.
We have made quite the mess with our love for cheap, convenient plastics.
McNeil believes we can turn the tide. She’s currently researching ways to Microplastics must be removedFrom municipal water treatment system. She says there are many other solutions available to policy makers, industry, as well as us.