Sea Salt Around the World Now Comes With a Nice Dose of Microplastics

It’s probably safe to assume most of us don’t want to eat plastic, but a new study has found that even adding a little salt to our food is making that harder to do than we previously thought.

While scientists have already found that microplastics are lurking in sea salt, a new study, which was just published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, found that they’re present in 90 percent of table salts that were sampled from around the world.

“Recent studies have found plastics in seafood, wildlife, tap water, and now in salt. It’s clear that there is no escape from this plastics crisis, especially as it continues to leak into our waterways and oceans,” said Mikyoung Kim, Campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia.

For the study, researchers from South Korea and Greenpeace East Asia analyzed 39 salt brands from Europe, North and South America, Africa, and Asia and found microplastics in 36 of them. According to researchers, plastic contamination in sea salt was the highest, which was followed by lake salt, and then rock salt, which is an indicator of how much plastic pollution there is in the areas where the salt was sourced from.

The only samples that didn’t have any microplastics were from refined sea salt from Taiwan, refined rock salt from China and unrefined sea salt made by solar evaporation in France.

When it comes to how much we’re actually consuming, they break it down with an assumption that someone’s eating just 10 grams of salt a day to an average of approximately 2,000 microplastics every year.

The study, which is also the first to look at contaminant levels in sea salt around the world, along with how it relates to plastic pollution levels, also found that the presence of microplastics were particularly high in brands found in Asia, which is a hotspot for plastic pollution.

“The findings suggest that human ingestion of microplastics via marine products is strongly related to plastic emissions in a given region,” said Professor Kim, Seung-Kyu, co-author of the study. “In order to limit our exposure to microplastics, preventative measures are required, such as controlling the environmental discharge of mismanaged plastics and more importantly, reducing plastic waste,” he added.

While consuming microplastics still has unknown consequences for our health, Greenpeace and others are urging corporations to reduce their use of throwaway plastic. While this study didn’t name any particular brands, a recent report released by the Break Free From Plastic coalition called out Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Nestlé for being among the worst offenders polluting our environment and raised calls for some serious change.

“We need to stop plastic pollution at its source. For the health of people and our environment, it’s incredibly important that corporations reduce their reliance on throwaway plastics immediately,” added Mikyoung Kim.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

83 comments

lennon horton
lennon horton4 months ago

thanks for sharing

SEND
Dave fleming
Past Member 4 months ago

Noted with concern.

SEND
Salla T
Salla Tuu4 months ago

Ty

SEND
Joan E
Joan E5 months ago

OMG

SEND
Mona Pietsch
Mona Pietsch5 months ago

thanks

SEND
rachel r
Past Member 5 months ago

Thank you!

SEND
Dave fleming
Past Member 5 months ago

Are health is at risk, Its time to take serious action.

SEND
Kelsey S
Kelsey S5 months ago

Thanks for sharing

SEND
danii p
danii p5 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

SEND
danii p
danii p5 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

SEND