A new study recently revealed that there may be high amounts of small plastic particles in table sea salt. Referred to as microplastics, while they are quite tiny, these microplastics apparently originate in China.
The research, which was published in Environmental Science and Technology online, had a study team gather 15 brands of rock/well salts, lake salts, as well as sea salt sold in groceries across China. Researchers were focusing on microplastic presence, which are small plastic particles that remain from man-made products like bottles, packages, and bags. Microplastics measure five millimeters (or smaller), and experts say they provide both human health and environmental risks. As head researcher Shi Huahong, Institute of Estuarine states, these particles are quite dangerous due to their size and ability to absorb organic pollutants.
MSN reports that the research revealed increased amounts of microplastics in table salt; still, more staggering, is the highest amounts were found in sea salt, calculating 1,200 microplastics in each pound.
The team went even further, and figured out that a person consuming this sea salt, at average levels, would end up taking in approximately 1,000 of these microplastics annually. While more research is needed to determine what the affects on human health would be, in terms of taking in such high amounts of these plastic particles, Richard Thompson, professor, marine science and engineering, Plymouth University (and the man, who in 2004, coined the term mircoplastics) noted that the results of this study is still ‘cause for concern’.
If there is any good news in all of this, the plastic particles were solely discovered in table salt within stores in China. Still experts state this issue could be widespread. As well, the country also happens to be the largest producer of salt across the globe. This could mean that people who live far away from the country are still impacted by this issue.