Microplastics are mighty

Tiny plastic particles have found their way into every aspect of life like food, water and everyday products.

Judy Silva, food editor

Microplastics are an emerging threat that can be found all over the planet and even in the food people consume.
Microplastics are small plastic pieces that are less than five millimeters long that are the result of the disposal and breakdown of consumer products and industrial waste. These plastics come from a variety of sources, such as ingredients in cigarette filters, textile fibers, personal care products, dust from car and truck tires, and some are from larger plastic debris that degrades into smaller pieces.
One of the major reasons microplastics are a danger to humans is because they can be found in everyday products. Using plastic containers or other food utensils further increases exposure to microplastics.
“A way we could avoid the production of microplastics is by substituting plastics with biodegradable materials,” said Olivia Withers, a senior.
Owning glass or stainless steel products are investments that can be made to avoid producing microplastics. Limiting single use plastics is an effort that can be made to combat plastic pollution and promote recycling.
“It is hard to get rid of plastic once it’s made so it is better to melt the plastic down and recycle it,” said Jennifer Reisener, a chemistry teacher.
Not only do microplastics affect humans but it also hugely impacts marine life as well as the oceans and rivers. Microplastics have been found in virtually every marine species including fish, whales, shrimp and even plankton.
Even water is not safe from microplastics. According to National Geographic, standard water treatment facilities cannot remove all traces of microplastics and microplastics in the ocean can bind with other harmful chemicals before being ingested by marine animals.
The threat of microplastics is apparent, not only are they all around us in products like face washes, in clothes, car tires, plastic bags and water bottles but they also can be found in the food and water that is consumed. Limiting personal plastic use can help lessen the threat of these these tiny microplastics.