Even Your Sea Salt Contains Microplastics
Sea salt may be healthy and rich in minerals, but a new study found it is also rich in plastic.
Sea salt has gained some popularity in the past few years for mega health benefits like increased energy and immunity, and improved skin and dental health. But, a team of researchers tested 17 sea salt brands from eight different countries and found some shocking results.
Published in Scientific Reports, the team found that only one brand was plastic-free. The rest, which were soaked in water and dissolved, left behind a total of 72 particles. Of those 72 particles, 1 in 10 contained microplastics. Overall, 41.6 percent of those were plastic polymers and 23.6 percent were pigments from plastic materials. The most common plastic polymers were polypropylene and polyethylene, both of which are considered safe plastics by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
But, what's most concerning about microplastics is their prevalence in the ocean. Microplastics come from cosmetic products (think, exfoliating microbeads) or break down from larger plastics over time or through chemical processes. It is estimated that there are about 8 million tonnes of plastic entering the oceans every year. These particles enter the food chain because small organisms like plankton eat the plastic. Microplastics have been found in shrimp, salmon and even whales and seals.
The growing problem caused the United Nations to form a global initiative in February to encourage companies to reduce their use of microplastics. California is also taking the lead on banning microbeads and other states are following suit, like Connecticut, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington.
There are other solutions being touted to manage the crisis of plastics in our oceans, rivers and lakes. For example, 22-year-old Boyan Slat of The Ocean Cleanup will initiate large-scale trials of his cleanup technology in the Pacific Ocean later this year. Inventors at Bluebird Marine Systems have developed the SeaVax, a solar- and wind-powered ship that can suck up plastic waste. And, Mr. Trash Wheel and Professor Trash Wheel—a pair of floating, solar and hydro-powered trash interceptors—are busy every day keeping Baltimore's Inner Harbor free of plastic trash.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) budget will still be slashed by nearly a third, from $8.2 billion to $5.65 billion, under President Trump's fiscal 2018 budget proposal released Tuesday.
The EPA, which has long been targeted by the Trump administration, is the hardest hit federal agency under the new plan. Opponents say it "endangers Americans" and cripples an institution charged with protecting their health and safety.
Frustrated by non-experts taking to the internet to dispute the science behind human-made climate change, North Carolina meteorologist Greg Fishel issued a challenge to climate deniers, urging them to "put up or shut up" and "submit your work the way real scientists do, and see where it takes you."
The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) system leaked more than 100 gallons of oil in two separate incidents in North Dakota in March.
This is the $3.8 billion project's third known leak. The controversial pipeline, which is not yet finished and not yet operational, also spilled 84 gallons of oil in South Dakota on April 4.
The Center for Biological Diversity sued the Trump administration Tuesday to uncover public records showing that federal employees have been censored from using words or phrases related to climate change in formal agency communications.
The news that Fiat-Chrysler is the latest auto-maker caught having massively—and probably illegally—exceeded allowable emission levels for its diesels cars raises a major question: Will this crisis shake Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne's long standing bet against history, in particular against the replacement of the internal combustion engine by the electric drive train?
On the eve of World Turtle Day, the world's largest travel website—TripAdvisor—removed the sale of tickets to the Cayman Turtle Centre, where more than 5,000 endangered sea turtles live in horrific conditions.
After numerous legal efforts trying to get a federal district court in Oregon to throw out a climate lawsuit brought by 21 young people, a defeated National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) filed a motion Monday requesting the court's permission to withdraw from the litigation.