How To Reduce Your Exposure to Microplastics

How To Reduce Your Exposure to Microplastics

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Plastics are throughout us, in meals packaging, clothes, carpeting, private care merchandise, home equipment, vehicles, and electronics. Yet, people have solely been utilizing plastics because the Fifties, and there’s a lot that we’re nonetheless studying about this substance. We’ve solely lately realized about microplastics, but they’re already widespread all through the setting — can we keep away from them?

Researchers are discovering microplastics, that are items of plastic smaller than 5 millimeters, in meals, soil, water, and even the air we breathe. Microplastics vary in size and makeup and may comprise varied polymers and components, reminiscent of flame retardants, plastic stabilizers, and colorants. Initially, scientists began discovering microplastic air pollution in marine habitats throughout the globe. Then they started discovering them in every single place.

Because microplastics are so tiny, it’s straightforward to ingest them in meals, water, and the air. In truth, researchers estimate that we ingest between 39,000 and 52,000 particles yearly. Although the precise well being implications of our publicity to microplastics are unknown, the presence of harmful chemical substances in them poses potential health concerns. More analysis is required for a whole understanding of the dangers.

Although there are various methods to ingest microplastics, widespread sense dictates it’s finest to reduce our publicity to them. Fortunately, there are comparatively straightforward methods to cut back your publicity to microplastics.

Where Do Microplastics Come From?

There are two major sources: main and secondary. Primary sources are made to be small, reminiscent of glitter, microfibers used to supply fleece, and microbeads in cosmetics. By distinction, secondary sources are larger plastic objects that break down into small items, reminiscent of plastic luggage, straws, and fishing nets within the ocean.

How Can I Avoid Microplastics?

It all begins by figuring out the way you is likely to be ingesting plastic after which decreasing this publicity. It will possible end in you utilizing much less plastic, which might even have a constructive environmental influence.

Avoid Bottled Water

Drinking bottled water is a standard technique to ingest microplastics. According to researchers, ingesting solely bottled water may end up in consuming 90,000 plastic particles annually in comparison with 4,000 from faucet water. If you’ve got considerations in regards to the quality of the tap water in your area, utilizing a water filter is likely to be a good suggestion. Also, bottled water shouldn’t be topic to the identical testing necessities as most faucet water, so the precise high quality is commonly unknown.

Carefully Select Tea Bags

It would possibly shock you that many tea luggage are made out of plastic. Pouring boiling water over a plastic bag to brew tea can launch billions of microplastics and nanoparticles into the tea, based on researchers. Another situation is that artificial tea luggage aren’t compostable.

There are two main methods to keep away from these points. One answer is to brew unfastened tea in a reusable metallic or glass strainer. The different is to fastidiously select tea brands that use natural fibers for his or her teabags, together with Clipper Tea, Nuni, Republic of Tea, and Yogi Tea. Both unfastened tea and pure fiber tea luggage are protected on your compost pile.

Toddler lying on carpeted floor
Because they spend extra time on the ground than adults, younger youngsters have a better threat of inhaling microplastics within the mud. Photo: StockSnap from Pixabay

Choose Natural Flooring Products

An Australian study discovered that the mud in our properties can comprise a wide range of microplastics, which places infants and toddlers at particularly excessive threat of ingesting them by way of the air as a result of they spend extra time on the ground than adults. However, the flooring sort and frequency of vacuuming impacted the prevalence and sort of particles.

Households with carpeting had practically double the quantity of petrochemical-based fibers like polyethylene and polyester, whereas properties with onerous flooring had extra polyvinyl fibers. Also, vacuuming the flooring no less than as soon as per week can cut back airborne particles.

Use Natural Fibers

Because artificial fibers reminiscent of polyester and acrylic are recognized to supply microplastics, selecting pure fibers on your clothes and family items would logically assist cut back airborne publicity. Therefore, choose carpeting, clothes, bedding, and towels that comprise pure fibers at any time when attainable.

Also, synthetic fabrics, reminiscent of polar fleece, shed microplastic fibers into the water when laundering them. Although this may not instantly influence your publicity, it does enhance the presence of microplastics within the setting.

Avoid Certain Types of Seafood

Unfortunately, as a result of the marine setting is contaminated with microplastics, so are some sorts of seafood. In specific, small fish that are eaten whole and bivalves, together with clams, oysters, muscle tissue, and scallops, are of specific concern. Reduce your consumption of most of these seafood to cut back your publicity.

Don’t Heat Food in Plastic

Studies present that heating food or water in plastic causes it to launch extra microparticles. So, keep away from microwaving meals in plastic or washing plastics within the dishwasher. Likewise, placing hot food in plastic dishes and utilizing plastic cooking utensils, reminiscent of a plastic spatula, may be trigger for concern.

Glass and metallic make nice options; simply remember to keep away from placing metallic objects within the microwave. Metal or wood cooking utensils are a superb various to plastic ones.

Although we will’t remove our publicity to microplastics with out utilizing a time machine, decreasing or eradicating among the largest culprits is a giant step. Further scientific analysis may also assist us make extra knowledgeable choices on decreasing our publicity.