What You Should Know About Microplastics In Food

Microplastics are small fragments of plastic that measure less than 5 millimeters in size, according to the National Ocean Service. Microplastics can come from a variety of different sources, including glitter, plastic bags, and water bottles. These products are broken down into smaller pieces in the environment, which can easily be inhaled and ingested. As a result, microplastics are found almost everywhere, including our food. As a matter of fact, the average American ingests anywhere between 39,000 to 52,000 particles every year, a 2019 study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology found.

The most common microplastics were polymer plastics like the polypropylene used to make bottle caps. The study's findings also revealed that some water bottle brands were already contaminated with microplastics during the manufacturing process. Meanwhile, another study published in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS One found that microplastics were commonly found in beer, seafood, and even packaged sea salt.

The impact of microplastics on human health

Consuming microplastics, which have been classified as toxic, can pose a risk to your overall health. According to Medical News Today, research has shown that microplastic can disrupt your hormones. That's because some of the chemicals that are used to make plastic packaging are endocrine disruptors, which can destabilize your hormone levels. This can negatively impact your health and may contribute to infertility or polycystic ovary syndrome.

As it turns out, ingesting microplastics can also increase your risk of chronic illness. Experts agree that there's a link between high levels of microplastics in the body and insulin resistance, which can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, microplastics can even impair your immune health. A 2020 review published in Particle and Fibre Toxicology found that microplastics can increase inflammation in the body, which can lead to bad gut health and interfere with your immune system.