By Cara Sprunk; Photography by Mira Bozhko/StockSnap
Scientists have discovered that sea salt harvested from the planet’s oceans is contaminated with plastic. They discovered traces of plastic in sea salt for sale in the U.S., China, throughout Europe and yes, even South Africa, according to a new study that was exclusively published by the Guardian.
The plastic is a result of litter in the oceans, which gets broken down and ends up in our food. Previously studies have revealed that plastic has been found in the fish we eat as well.
The research was led by Sherri Mason, a professor at the State University of New York at Fredonia, who worked with researchers at the University of Minnesota, examining microplastics in salt, beer and drinking water.
“Not only are plastics pervasive in our society in terms of daily use, but they are pervasive in the environment,” she explained, adding that plastics are “ubiquitous, in the air, water, the seafood we eat, the beer we drink, the salt we use — plastics are just everywhere.”
In their research they looked at 12 kinds of sea salt, including 10 that are sold in U.S. grocery stores. The findings suggested that if people are consuming the recommended amount of salt, that they may be ingesting upwards of 660 particles of plastic each year, however most Americans eat too much salt, which would mean they are consuming far more plastic than that.
Unfortunately there is no information about the effect of plastic in our diet as Juan Conesa, a professor who conducted research on sea salt at the University of Alicante in Spain, explained that there have been no studies on the topic.
“I hope what comes from this is not that [consumers] just switch brands and try to find something that’s table salt or mined salt,” Mason said. “People want to disconnect, and say, ‘It’s OK if I go to Starbucks everyday and get that disposable coffee cup …’ We have to focus on the flow of plastic and the pervasiveness of plastics in our society and find other materials to be using instead.”
Each year, 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans. Now that’s scary!
This article was originally published on www.womenshealth.com