By: Justin Yarrington
Summary: As of recently, we have been finding more and more trace amounts of microplastics in the atmosphere and in our waters. This not only has a direct impact on the biotic and abiotic factors of our ecosystems. It also has a direct impact on us humans as well. As of now we are not entirely sure of the implications that these microplastics have on our health. Some scientists believe that the ingestion of microplastics can cause health problems like diabetes and cancer. However the scary part about all of this is how easily these microplastics are ingested. They can be in the air and we can come in contact with them via breathing or we could eat fish or other aquatic species that have consumed plastic. These are just two ways however it's kinda frightening because all of the animals in the water and the ones that breathe air are also susceptible to these dangers. This is truly sad because these microplastics were brought about by us and we naturally bring down other species with this pollution. According to a study done by the Annals of Internal Medicine on the amount of microplastics in human stool all of the eight participants had over nine different microplastics in their stool. These microplastics ranged from polypropylene to polyethylene terephthalate. This is quite alarming however it is questionable because the study had a low sample size. In a journal about microplastics in seafood and the implications of human health, Jambeck suggests that the toxicity of these plastics is dose dependent. Meaning it depends on how much seafood a person ingests to determine how damaging the effects are. This is alarming because the journal also says that nutritionists suggest that we double our intake of seafood.
Why we should care? We should care about this issue because these problems are directly caused by humans and if we do not care then humans will begin to see the negative aspects first hand.
I choose this article because webmd.com clearly outlines the specific health risks associated with these Microplastics in our organs. Some of the dangers they include are obesity, diabetes, and even becoming infertile. Along with this the website also includes specific figures on how much plastic we might be consuming. One of the statistics included are we consume about five grams of plastic a week or about a credit card. When I heard this, my jaw dropped. Along with this, I enjoyed how webmd.com included some ways we can cut back on potentially ingesting these particles. One of the ways listen was use reusable water bottles and eat less packaged food. Webmd also included almost exactly how small these particles are. They said that although they are barely visible to the eye they are 5 millimeters in diameter or about 0.2 inches.
Science in Action.
Charlie Rolsky is Director of Science, North America, for Plastic Oceans International.
I included Mr. Rolsky as a scientist that covers this topic because I really admire how diverse his works range from. Rolsky is the director of science for North America at Plastic Oceans International. Plastic Oceans International is a non profit organization centered around creating awareness for the large amount of plastics in our ocean. Along with this Charles Rolsky is also involved with research at Arizona State University. Something that I admire about Rolsky is that he studies the ocean by networking with people around the world so that he can get samples of ocean water to test the microplastic content. Rolsky said he loves doing research this way because it encourages people from all walks of life to be passionate about environmental issues. Along with this Rolsky is also involved with a youtube series called breaking it down which is all about educating people about environmental issues.