Late last year a study was released announcing that microplastics had been found in the placentas which house unborn children. This discovery shocked the world for about a day before everyone went back to normal life. But, it is something that should be a real concern for all of us. While the science isn’t conclusive yet, microplastics are incredibly damaging to humans and could be causing major health issues for us.
What kind of health issues? Studies in lab animals have found that microplastics cause cancer and issues with organs. In adult humans the studies are looking at the connection between microplastics and weight gain as well as reproductive issues. In children, microplastics might be causing organ problems and developmental delays. Needless to say, plastic was never meant to be inside our bodies and they have the potential to cause a lot of harm. Each year Americans eat on average a credit card amount of plastic and that plastic doesn’t always leave like it should.
How to Avoid Microplastics
The good news is that there are some things you can do right now to avoid eating microplastics. I’ve listed the 4 biggest things below. Keep in mind that while this will help you from eating fewer microplastics, they won’t stop it completely and it doesn’t help prevent you from creating microplastics. Something you do when you wash clothes, drive a car, give your kids stuffed animals, or put on eyeshadow. Yes, all of those things contribute to microplastic pollution, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. But, back to what you can do.
Eat More Fresh Foods
Fresh foods are less likely to have been exposed to plastics for long periods of time. Though even then this isn’t always the case. So many of the fresh fruits and veggies we buy today come wrapped in plastic that it can be difficult to find it any other way. One way to do that is to go to farmer’s markets.
Don’t Heat Food in Plastic
When you heat up food in plastic containers you’re also heating up those plastic containers, allowing the chemicals and microplastics to be shed directly into the food you’re about to eat. So, if you’re going to microwave something do it in a microwave safe ceramic or glass bowl. Just make sure it says it’s microwave safe.
Avoid 3, 6, and 7 Plastics
When you’re buying foods that come in plastic check the number inside the recycle icon. This number will tell you what kind of plastic is being used. Most commonly this is used to identify if a plastic can be recycled or not. But if the plastics are numbers 3, 6, or 7 then put that food back down and find it in another package. Those are the ones most likely to shed microplastics into your food.
Drink Water from the Tap
If you live somewhere that is safe to do so, you should drink water from the tap whenever possible. If you don’t then rather than buying bottled water from the store, look for a local water store where you can fill your own jugs. Bottled water from stores is often allowed to sit out in the sun or stored in hot warehouses where the plastic leaches into the water.
If you’re looking for another way to improve your health you might be interested in this article about Self-Care.