The Secret Ingredient you didn't know about
Microplastics, something your nutritionist does not tell you to remove from your diet.
Author: Max (Young Reporter, Costa Rica)
Plastic, trash, pollution, all threatening the environment, but…. is the environment the only one being affected? Have you ever thought about all the possible unwanted ingredients that our daily foods may contain? If you hadn't, I'm sorry to inform you that microplastics are actually all over our meals; but what exactly is a microplastic? Well, it is defined as a piece of plastic that is 5 mm long or less. Small right? That's exactly why this little imposter is able to hide in our food without us even noticing. Every year more plastic is created and therefore consumed. By 2018 in North America, each citizen consumed more than 100 kg of plastic during that year, with an average global production of 335 million metric tons from 2 years before. It's a huge amount right? Now imagine how much plastic we are producing 5 years later and how much we will continue to produce if we don't do something! But you may be asking yourself, what is it about eating microplastic that is so bad? (Dr. Ramakrishanan Nara, 2018)
There was a study conducted with the purpose of evaluating the amount of microplastics that some food products have. They concluded that the damage or potential risk may vary depending on the exposure. When you ingest microplastics into your body, the reaction that they are going to have is very similar to the one cars have on the environment, microplastics are going to pollute your body. There is a series of chemicals that are used when manufacturing plastic, including styrene, toxic metals, and many more, chemicals that are going to act as substrates, that basically means that the chemicals mentioned before may be transferred from the microplastic into the organism. This can have severe consequences such as the possibility of a malfunction of some of the key body roles of an animal tissue. (Dr. Ramakrishnan Nara, 2018) Microplastics have many ways to get into food products, no matter the product, they always find a way. Let’s take a look at the example of fruits and vegetables, microplastics can penetrate the roots of the plants and then they start to accumulate and they now become part of the plant, and they can enter by just having contaminated soil or water. Unfortunately fruits and vegetables are not the only affected products. With them we have fish, salt, beer, bread and many more products!
This is too much information to process right? You just found out that you have been eating microplastics, but you know what is not hard to process? You can do something about it, and you can start by small actions in your community. If we all contribute we can fight against it! Take action! Do it now! Pick up trash in your community! Avoid buying products wrapped in plastic and avoid single use plastic! Throw away your trash properly! See? It's not as hard as you thought, simple actions like these can contribute. Let's all do something to take away this ingredient from our meals. The longer we wait the more plastic we will eat!
Nara, A. D. R. (2021, January 19). Microplastic Contamination of the Food Supply Chain. Food Safety RSS. https://www.food-safety.com/articles/6053-microplastic-contamination-of-the-food-supply-chain.
Greenpeace East Asia. (n.d.). 3 Everyday Foods that Contain Microplastics. Greenpeace East Asia. https://www.greenpeace.org/eastasia/blog/6016/3-everyday-foods-that-contain-microplastics/.