Want another reason to switch to earth-friendly plastics? How about your health? Microplastics come from petroleum-based plastics being broken down in the environment. Once it enters the environment, the plastic we throw away breaks down in the sun, waves, and wind into much smaller pieces. We also produce tine plastic fibers and particles when was wash clothes, driving cars, wearing down carpets and upholstered furniture, and more. Microplastics are smaller than a quarter of an inch, often a millimeter or smaller; nano plastics are even more minuscule, measuring less than 0.1 micrometers (a micrometer is 1,000 times smaller than a millimeter). Microplastics appear in our food chain, and even in the apples, we eat.
The health effects of microplastics remain unclear, but we do know that they’re pervasive in both the environment and our bodies. Emerging research suggests humans are consuming more than 100,000 microplastic particles a year, according to Kieran Cox, a Ph.D. candidate, and Hakai Scholar at the University of Victoria in Canada.