The concern surrounding plastics in our food system stems from the massive, global increase in plastic manufacturing, coupled with plastic manufacturing laws that differ across countries, states, and industries. To be clear, the jury is still out on how micro- or nanoplastics affect human health, but limiting our exposure certainly can’t hurt.
Avoiding contaminated food products is a good start. And although it is difficult to specify which types of food are more susceptible to plastic contamination, scientists have identified two major sources. One is fish/shellfish, who have already ingested the plastic from the environment by the time those dishes end up on our plates. The second, of course, are bottles of drinking water – 35 billion of which are thrown away every year at a degradation rate of between 500 and 1,000 years per bottle. Regular sweeping and vacuuming of your residence, as opposed to simply dusting, can also help eliminate microplastic dust that can accumulate and infiltrate our drinking glasses or dinner plates.
Although microplastics remain a question mark as far as the physical and cognitive impacts are concerned, fortunately humans have evolved barriers and mechanisms, including foreign-object-gobblers like macrophages, to address our ingestion of non-food items. But, given the sheer volume of exposure we’re all facing on a daily basis, coupled with the unknown effects of chronic contact, taking steps to minimize your microplastic consumption appears to be a prudent course of action.