Seafood Study Finds Plastic in 100% of Samples
Researchers bought raw samples of popular seafood from a market in Australia, including 10 oysters, 10 farmed tiger prawns, 10 wild squid, five wild blue crab and 10 wild sardines, reported Daily Mail. At least trace levels of plastic contamination were found in each, with the highest content found in sardines, according to the research.
The scientists used a new technique to identify and measure five different types of plastics contained within the tissues of each sample of seafood simultaneously, reported Intrafish. They did so in order to better understand the potential harm microplastics in seafood could have on human health, lead author Francisca Ribeiro said in a University of Queensland press release.
The study, published by the University of Exeter and the University of Queensland in Environmental Science & Technology, found greatly varying amounts of plastic in each of the different types of seafood tested as well as in the individual species, said a University of Exeter press release.
"From the edible marine species tested, sardines had the highest plastic content, which was a surprising result," Riberio told the University of Queensland. "Another interesting aspect was the diversity of microplastic types found among species, with polyethylene predominant in fish and polyvinyl chloride the only plastic detected in oysters."
Riberio compared the exposure levels to microplastics in the University of Exeter release: "Considering an average serving, a seafood eater could be exposed to approximately 0.7mg of plastic when ingesting an average serving of oysters or squid, and up to 30mg of plastic when eating sardines, respectively …. For comparison, 30mg is the average weight of a grain of rice."
The new method is a "major step forward" towards plastic quantification techniques in seafood because it allows results to be reported in a mass unit, something wasn't possible before, noted the University of Queensland release.
"We can now define what microplastic levels can be considered harmful to human health," Ribeiro said in the release.
The plastics found by the scientists are commonly used in plastic packaging and synthetic textiles, including polystyrene, polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, polypropylene and poly (methyl methacrylate), reported Intrafish. Polyvinyl chloride was found in all samples, while the plastic found in highest concentrations was polyethylene, the world's most popular plastic, reported Daily Mail.
These plastics frequently end up in waterways and oceans, where they continue to break down into microplastics, very small pieces of plastics that are often eaten by marine creatures of all sizes and types. Microplastics are absorbed by plankton, bioaccumulate as they are carried up the food chain and eventually end up on our plates, reported Energy Live News.
Humans are exposed to microplastics not only in the seafood we eat, but also through bottled water, sea salt, beer, honey, and even dust that settles on our meals, the University of Exeter release said.
"We do not fully understand the risks to human health of ingesting plastic, but this new method will make it easier for us to find out," co-author Tamara Galloway said in the release.
The next phase of the research will seek to identify the sources of the plastic contamination found in the seafood tested, noted the University of Queensland release.
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People across New England witnessed a dramatic celestial event Sunday night.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By David Reichmuth
Over the last month, I've seen a number of opinion articles attacking electric vehicles (EVs). Sadly, this comes as no surprise: now that the Biden administration is introducing federal policies to accelerate the roll out of electric vehicles, we were bound to see a reaction from those that oppose reducing climate changing emissions and petroleum use.
The majority of EVs sold in 2020 were models with a starting price (Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price) under $40,000 and only a fifth of models had a starting price over $60,000.
On Friday, China set out an economic blueprint for the next five years, which was expected to substantiate the goal set out last fall by President Xi Jinping for the country to reach net-zero emissions before 2060 and hit peak emissions by 2030.
The Great Trail in Canada is recognized as the world's longest recreational trail for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. Created by the Trans Canada Trail (TCT) and various partners, The Great Trail consists of a series of smaller, interconnected routes that stretch from St. John's to Vancouver and even into the Yukon and Northwest Territories. It took nearly 25 years to connect the 27,000 kilometers of greenway in ways that were safe and accessible to hikers. Now, thanks to a new partnership with the Canadian Paralympic Committee and AccessNow, the TCT is increasing accessibility throughout The Great Trail for people with disabilities.
Trans Canada Trail and AccessNow partnership for AccessOutdoors / Trails for All project. Mapping day at Stanley Park Seawall in Vancouver, British Columbia with Richard Peter. Alexa Fernando<p>This partnership also comes at a time when access to outdoor recreation is more important to Canadian citizens than ever. <a href="https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/200527/dq200527b-eng.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Studies from the spring of 2020</a> indicate that Canadian's <a href="https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/moneytalk-mental-health-during-covid-19-1.1567633" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">mental health has worsened</a> since the onset of social distancing protocols due to COVID-19. </p><p>The <a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/safe-activities-during-covid19/art-20489385" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Mayo Clinic</a> lists hiking, biking, and skiing as safe activities during COVID-19. Their website explains, "When you're outside, fresh air is constantly moving, dispersing these droplets. So you're less likely to breathe in enough of the respiratory droplets containing the virus that causes COVID-19 to become infected."</p><p>TCT leadership took this into consideration when embarking on the accessibility project. McMahon explains that there has never been a more important time to bring accessibility to the great outdoors: "Canadians have told us that during these difficult times, they value access to natural spaces to stay active, take care of their mental health, and socially connect with others while respecting physical distancing and public health directives. This partnership is incredibly important especially now as trails have become a lifeline for Canadians."</p><p>Together, these organizations are paving the way for better physical and mental health among all Canadians. To learn more about the TCT's mission and initiatives, check out their <a href="https://thegreattrail.ca/stories/" target="_blank">trail stories</a> and <a href="https://thegreattrail.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/TCT_2020-Donor-Impact-Report_EN_8.5x14-web.pdf" target="_blank">2020 Impact Report</a>.</p>