Microplastics (MPs) are tiny pieces of plastic less than 5 mm in length, typically less than 0.2 inches across, but can be as small as 1/15th the width of a human hair.
They’re found in 1) Contaminated drinking water (i.e. tap water) 2) Paper and plastic goods 3) Mollusks (mussels, oysters, scallops), 4) Bags and bottles that have been degraded, 5) Fishing equipment, 6) Microfibers from clothing made with synthetic and natural materials like yoga pants, fleece jackets and sweat-absorbing clothes.
THE PROBLEMS THEY CAUSE
MPs act as carriers for contaminants like ions, toxic heavy metals such as palladium, chromium and cadmium that have the potential to negatively affect cardiovascular and thyroid health.
MPs negatively affect the intestines and liver and ultimately increase the likelihood of IBD, Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Inflammation, Reproductive and growth problems and alter the balance of Gut Bacteria. Common symptoms include crippling stomach pain, fatigue, flatulence, nausea, backache, inability to gain muscle and problems going to the bathroom.
WHERE THEY’RE FOUND
In the 15 minutes it takes for coffee or tea to be consumed, the microplastic layer on the cup degrades and releases 25,000 micron-sized particles or 10.2 billion submicron sized particles.
Mollusks contain between 0 – 10.5 MPs per gram (MPs/g). That number is only between 0.1 – 8.6 MPs/g for crustaceans and 0 – 2.9 MPs/g for fish as mollusks are eaten whole whereas only parts of crustaceans and fish are consumed. Mollusks that farm raised and/or collected off the coasts of Asia contain the highest amounts of MPs.
IBD vs MPs
A current diagnosis of IBD only exacerbates the retention of MPs. Also women are 50% more likely to develop IBD than men.
A positive correlation between a IBD and the concentration of fecal MP analysis showed stools from IBD patients contained 50% more MPs/g.
THERE IS SOMETHING YOU CAN DO
WHAT’S THE SOLUTION? Use cups, utensils, cutting boards, plates, containers, etc. made from terracotta, glass or stainless steel.