Now I'm not perfect when it comes to cleaning my house, but who is?
UK scientists placed Petri dishes that contained sticky dust traps on a table next to some dinner plates in three different houses at meal time.
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Shockingly, they found up to 14 pieces of plastic in these Petri dishes at the end of a 20-minute meal. This is the equivalent of 114 plastic fibers on average due to the plate's much larger size.
Is that alarming to you? There's more.
Scientists over at the Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh concluded that the average person will swallow up to 68,415 potentially dangerous plastic fibers per year. This happens just by sitting down at home and eating.
The study further solidifies that there is an alarming spread of plastic in our air.
Turn the Tide on Plastic Campaign
DailyMail newspaper over in the UK has run a longstanding Turn The Tide on Plastic campaign which reveals that fillets of fresh fish from open counters at major supermarkets contain up to 139 pieces of plastic for every 240g of fish.
What's alarming is that these particles were too big to just be passed through the gut to the flesh of the fish. The investigation believes the plastic came from airborne contamination.
Plastic Particles Stats
I'll be the first to tell you that I didn't know any of this before writing this article.
Upon some more research of how plastic particles affect us, I've run across some staggering statistics.
Check them out:
- Out of the 300 million tons of plastic produced each year, half is used only once. That means 300,000,000,000 pounds of plastic is not recycled - landing in dumps, litter, and in the ocean.
- Accounting for 14 percent of litter, the US sold over 100 billion beverages in plastic bottles. The Container Recycling Institute estimates that 57% of them were sold as water. So 57 billion bottles were produced in 2014 for water in the US - up from about 3.8 billion in 1996.
- More than 40% of the plastics produced is used to create packaging. Imagine all of those hundreds of billions of crappy bags that your local grocery tries to pawn off on you. Statistics show that each minute there will be one million bags used with an average time of 15 minutes before it is discarded.
- Plastics take a very long time to break down in the ocean. In fact, it's possible that a one-liter bottle can eventually end up on every mile of beach on every continent.
- There's a collection of garbage off of the California coast that is twice the size of Texas. The 4 different currents help create his 7.7 million square mile area in the North Pacific. The calm and stable waters trap and keep the pollution.
- It is estimated that about 70 percent of the debris actually sinks to the bottom. It's speculated that there could be quite a bit of trash beneath the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch."
- The amounts of plastics that we are producing is increasing exponentially. In fact, the past decade has produced more plastics then the entire century before that.
Health Risk of Plastic Particles in the Air
It should be no surprise that there's plenty of health risks to humans when we ingest plastic particles.
Plastic particles can cause:
- Damage to our lungs
- Poison our kidneys
- Interfere with hormone production
"It is estimated that about 80% of marine debris originates as land-based trash and the remaining 20% is attributed to at-sea intentional or accidental disposal or loss of goods and waste." - EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)
Packaging Is to Blame
Let's consider Easter. You've gotten to see a lot of packaging around our sweet treats.
Easter egg manufacturers use an alarming amount of packaging in their products. The average weight of packaging for the average Easter egg is 22g - that has not improved since 2012.
Widespread complacency is running rampant as most of the major brands fail to streamline their packaging. Lindt chocolate has the worst chocolate-to-packaging ratio at nearly 2:1. The egg itself takes up less than 1/6th of the box.
Wrapping It Up
My house has always been dusty - it's a byproduct of being lazy and ignorant about what that dust actually does to us.
These excess plastic particles and other airborne things that come from the dust in our house, the excessive packaging used, and coming from polluted waters really cause a threat to our health.