Seafood lovers: listen up! The fish you put on your plate could have plastic in it!
Millions of metric tons of plastics are dumped into oceans every year. Now, researchers are finding even the smallest pieces may affect the seafood you eat.
Microplastics are tiny bits of plastic that are about the size of a sesame seed. Fish often mistake the plastic particles for food and swallow them.
In a recent study, scientists found microplastics in every single sample of commercial seafood they tested, which included wild blue crabs, oysters, farmed tiger prawns, wild squid, and wild sardines. They discovered the sardines had the highest plastic content—30 milligrams, which is about the size of a grain of rice.
While experts still don’t know all the risks of ingesting plastic, some research has suggested microplastics both absorb and give off chemicals and harmful pollutants.
The bottom line: if you regularly eat seafood, you may also be eating plastic.
And unless we do something about it, experts predict by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.
Researchers are working on a way to help you know what you are eating. In the next few years, fish will be geotagged and consumers will be able to look up where the fish they are buying was caught to find out just how far away it was from plastic polluted water and shorelines.