How Much Plastic are You Consuming?
Humans consume thousands of microplastics every year but does it rise to a level of concern? Find out how much plastic you are consuming.
If you’ve read reports about plastics showing up in whales and other sea life you might have wondered how much plastic do humans consume. Have you heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Island?
According to a study by the World Wide Fund for Nature, the average human consumes around 5 grams of plastic every week, which adds up to around a half-pound of plastic every year. Five grams of plastic is approximately the equivalent of a credit card. Most of the plastic humans consume comes from drinking water.
How does plastic get into your system?
One way plastics can get into your system is through plastic tea bags. Plastic tea bags can shed billions of particles of microplastic with each cup. A cup of team can have as much as 16 micrograms of plastic per cup, which is several orders of magnitude greater than other drinks and food, according to the Canadian research team that studied the issue.
Humans also encounter plastic through the consumption of shellfish. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, the average person consumes around 182 particles of plastic by eating shellfish per week. The study also found that people who consume beer will ingest around 10 particles of plastic a week and 11 particles of plastic a week by consuming salt.
What’s the risk of consuming plastic?
Microplastics have shown up in drinking water and the World Health Organization published a study in 2019 that found microplastics pose a low concern for human health.
A 2017 King’s College in London study found that the cumulative effective of consuming plastic could be toxic while researchers at Johns Hopkins found that eating seafood contaminated with microplastics could damage the immune system and disturb your gut’s health as it accumulates.