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.
As Trevor Noah noted during The Daily Show episode last night (starts at 2:25), the real reason Trump has these rallies is to "get back in front of his loyal crowds and feed of their energy." Noah believes that "Trump supporters are so on board with their dude he can say anything and they'll come along for the ride."
By Francine Kershaw
Seismic airguns exploding in the ocean in search for oil and gas have devastating impacts on zooplankton, which are critical food sources for marine mammals, according to a new study in Nature. The blasting decimates one of the ocean's most vital groups of organisms over huge areas and may disrupt entire ecosystems.
And this devastating news comes on the heels of the National Marine Fisheries Service's proposal to authorize more than 90,000 miles of active seismic blasting. Based on the results of this study, the affected area would be approximately 135,000 square miles.
By Jill Richardson
Is coconut oil:
- good for you
- bad for you
- neither good nor bad
- scientists don't know
The subject of this question is the source of a disagreement. Initially, the question was thought to be settled decades ago, when scientist Ancel Keys declared all saturated fats unhealthy. Coconut oil, which is solid at room temperature, is a saturated fat.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone region on Thursday from the Endangered Species List. The decision comes despite serious concerns in the scientific community about a declining, isolated population with diminishing food resources and record-high mortalities, as well as strong opposition from an unprecedented number of Tribal Nations.
By BJ McManama
ArborGen Corporation, a multinational conglomerate and leading supplier of seedlings for commercial forestry applications, has submitted an approval request to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to deregulate and widely distribute a eucalyptus tree genetically engineered (GE) to be freeze tolerant. This modification will allow this GE variety to be grown in the U.S. Southeast. The reason this non-native and highly invasive tree has been artificially created to grow outside of its tropical environment is to greatly expand production capacity for the highly controversial woody biomass industry.
By Kari Hamerschlag
Many health conscious consumers are reducing their consumption of red meat in favor of chicken—especially products labeled and promoted as "100% natural"—believing they are a healthier option produced without routine antibiotics, artificial substances or other drugs.
"We have given our planet the disastrous gift of climate change ... When we we have reached similar crises there has usually been somewhere else to colonize ... But there is no new world, no utopia around the corner," he said. "We are running out of space, and the only places to go to are other worlds."
Just like John Oliver predicted, Robert E. Murray has filed a lawsuit in response to the Last Week Tonight host's June 18 show about coal that devoted a large segment skewering the Murray Energy Corporation CEO.