Microplastic: How Worried Should We Be?


For those of you out there that think you will only find microplastic in the ocean and on our beaches, think again.  It seems that microplastic has managed to find its way into everything that keeps us alive on this planet.  Not just our food and water has become contaminated, but even our air. 

One of the most recent findings that has shocked tea drinkers is the discovery that nylon plastic tea bags release around 11 billion particles of plastic into their cup of tea.  It comes as unsurprising to many however, as brewing nylon strings in hot boiling water does not sound like a great idea, but companies obviously thought otherwise.  The interesting thing is that this method of producing tea bags is actually more expensive for the producer and consumer, but companies have decided that they are superior, and have released these new tea bags with no concern over the microplastics in them.  Either they did not put them through sufficient testing, or they simply don’t care that these new bags could be hurting consumer health. 

The fact is that microplastics are now showing up everywhere.  Whether it is at the bottom of the ocean or in our own poo, people are getting increasingly concerned over its widespread dispersion on our planet.  Microplastics are everywhere, and with the emergence of the even smaller particles called nanoplastics, scientist and researchers are starting to worry.

Microplastics are generally agreed to be pieces of plastic smaller than 5mm, and nanoplastics are even smaller and invisible to the naked eye, and have to be measured in nanometers.  Many agree that there is an absence of research into the problem, since it has only came to light in recent years.  Scientists know that microplastics are out there, but they are now calling for more studies on how organism react to the exposure to these plastic particles.