New modeling reveals that 1,100 tons of microplastic is currently floating above the western United States. Eventually, it will fall out of the sky and contaminate even the most remote corners of North America, as well as the world at large. According to these researchers, “microplastic particles and fibers generated from the breakdown of mismanaged waste are now so prevalent that they cycle through the earth in a manner akin to global biogeochemical cycles.” Their research also contains the surprising finding that 84 percent of airborne microplastics in the American West come from roads outside of major cities (while another 11 percent are thought to originate from the ocean).
Microplastics are tiny pieces, smaller than 5 millimeters that come from the breakdown of things like plastic bags and bottles, our clothing (many articles of which contain plastic microfibers) and our vehicle tires, among a myriad of other sources. Because plastics disintegrate but don’t ever completely break down, the amount of microplastics in our environment and, particularly, in the ocean has been skyrocketing through our decades-long use of plastic materials. A 2019 study concluded that upwards of 7 trillion microplastics, most of it coming from tires, wash into San Francisco Bay alone each year.
And while they may look small, the health impacts of exposure to microplastic could end up being quite large. Several cell and animal vivo studies have revealed the potential for inhaled or ingested microplastics to cause a variety of negative impacts on the human body, including physical damage that can lead to cellular stress, DNA damage and inflammatory and immune reactions, as well as neurotoxic and metabolic effects. Therefore, if you believe your health has been impacted due to exposure to microplastics, you should contact an experienced law firm like Bordas & Bordas right away to explore your rights.