Microplastic in the Ocean is Hurting the Environment and Our Health.

Microplastic in the Ocean is Hurting the Environment and Our Health.

It is estimated that 21 million metric tons of plastics are in the Atlantic Ocean. A lot of this plastic cannot be found though because it has become microplastic, which is plastic that is less than five millimeters in length. It starts off as large pieces of plastic which is then ground down into the micro pieces that are hard to see. Scientists figured out the plastic levels by sampling different sites of the Atlantic Ocean and creating an estimate for the rest of the Atlantic. They found 7,000 plastic particles in a cubic meter of seawater and calculated the rest of the ocean from there. This estimate might be low though since the scientists doing the study only looked for three types of plastic in six percent of the Atlantic Ocean. Other areas could have a higher concentration and a more diverse amount of plastic than what was tested.

The entire ecosystem and food chain are affected by the large amounts of plastic. Fish mistake the plastic for food, and when bigger fish eat the smaller fish, the bigger fish are ingesting larger amounts of plastic. This process is called bioaccumulation and it can be very detrimental to the top of the food chain. Since we are at the top of the food chain, we are ingesting large amounts of plastic and are harming our health without knowing.

With so much microplastic being ingested, it is now being found in people’s organs and the chemicals from the plastic are being found in human tissue. These chemicals can have a negative effect on human health over a long period of time.  If the plastic leaves the gut and enters the bloodstream, it can cause serious physical damage in the body. This has been seen in patients who have had inflammation throughout the body. Fish exposed to microplastics were also studied and scientists found that they had fewer offspring who also had fewer offspring.

In addition to animal proteins, microplastics can be found in bottled and tap water, beer, sea salt, and other products. It is certain that we are ingesting them, and we are breathing them into our lungs because these plastics are also found in the air. They can accumulate in the lungs, leading to certain cancers. We are poisoning ourselves and giving ourselves cancer with all the plastic we put out into the environment and if we don’t stop, our health and the environment will become worse.

Some chemical exposure can be more concentrated and direct, leading to cancer in the future. People who worked with asbestos ingested and inhaled the toxic fibers, leading to mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other cancers. Other toxic substances like lead in products makes its way into the atmosphere, leading to people being poisoned until lead became regulated.  If you were exposed to a toxic substance like asbestos or lead and now have cancer, contact us today to see if you could be entitled to compensation. Our lawyers will do whatever they can to help you in your time of need. Call 412-471-3980 or fill our contact form and someone will get back to you.

Sources:
Andrea Thompson, “From Fish to Humans, A Microplastic Invasion May Be Taking a Toll” Scientific American (September 4, 2018). [Link]
Damian Carrington, “Microplastic particles now discoverable in human organs” The Guardian (August 17, 2020). [Link]
Matt Simon, “Wait, How Much Microplastic Is Swirling in the Atlantic?” Wired (August 18, 2020). [Link]
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