Microplastics dominate headlines as more research reveals that tiny plastic particles contaminating global waterways and the air are in human blood.
Plastics have been in use since they were first developed in the 1950s. Over the last 70 years, a lack of a cohesive global plan to stop the abuse of plastic has been catastrophic to the environment, marine life, and humans.
Microplastic particles are about 5mm in length. They often come from common single-use plastics like bags, bottles, and food packaging.
Those particles then form huge clumps that clog and pollute waterways, fall through the air and somehow into our bodies.
Dr. Dick Vethaak is a professor emeritus of Ecotoxicology / Water Quality and Health at Vrije Universiteit (VU) in Amsterdam. His recent findings on microplastics in human blood have gone viral.
“…It is certainly disturbing because it shows that people ingest or inhale so many plastic particles that it ends up in the bloodstream. Such particles can cause chronic inflammation and DNA damage.”
A new line of inquiry focuses on using non-toxic chemicals (think plants) to pull microplastics out of the waterways. Cleaning up wastewater requires flocculants which are sticky, toxic chemicals that attract microplastics to help form large clumps.
The clumped particles then fall to the bottom of the seafloor or wastewater treatment plant and can be removed from the bottom.