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Bad news, clean eaters: You’ve all been cheating on your diets. Turns out, because lots of stuff is made out of plastic and recycling is just too damn hard to do, we’ve all been ingesting up to five grams of microplastics each week, according to the WWF (World Wildlife Fund).
Scientists from the University of Newcastle in Australia reviewed 52 existing studies and estimated that through food, drinks, and even just breathing, we suck down about a credit card’s worth every seven days. The study listed water as the biggest offender, with a potential 1,769 plastic particles (in this particular case, microplastics under 1mm) coming from it per week. Shellfish, salt, and beer (ugh!) were also listed as main offenders.
So what does sucking down a credit card’s worth of weekly microplastics—plastic particles under five millimeters in size—mean for our health stats? Though it’s not delicious and certainly not delicious, the jury is out regarding just how sick it’ll make us. In fact, the World Health Organization and the University of Newcastle in Australia are currently conducting studies to find out potential health impacts.
That being said, here’s some semi-good news: The scientists admitted that the study was built on a “limited set of evidence, and comes with limitations.” (Translation: they don’t really know if the number is five grams or not, but it’s in the ballpark.)
Now, here’s some more bad news: The report does note that microplastics can carry pollutants from the environment and contain toxins. So, the jury is still out either way.
Point is, we hope you enjoy your dinner—with a side of fat-free microplastics, of course.