Went out for some oysters over the weekend?
Well, did you order them with a side of plastic residue?
Researchers from the University of Ghent in Belgium have come out with a study showing that people who eat shellfish regularly ingest up to 11,000 pieces of plastic per year, so you may want to cut back on the mussels.
How does it happen? Basically by having five trillion pieces of microplastic populating our oceans. Inevitably, these micro-pieces get stuck on the tissue of the animals we later order off the menu.
Putting aside those strong images of turtles tangled up in plastic packaging, what this study shows is that the real damage caused by the marine litter problem is happening at a level we can’t actually see. And now, it’s starting to affect our food.
Once consumed, these tiny pieces of plastic may attach themselves to our intestinal tissues, possibly causing long-term harm. The authors point out that it’s very likely other types of seafood may also be a source of human microplastic intake, but the scariest thing of all is the prospect of what could happen if things don’t change: By the end of the century, shellfish lovers could be consuming as many as 780,000 pieces of plastic a year.
I’m just going to leave that number there… Food for thought!