MICRO PLASTICS....WHAT ARE THEY AND WHY ARE THEY HARMFUL?

In a previous blog, we only touched on Micro plastics as a part of Plastic Pollution. Micro plastics are a far bigger problem than just one little paragraph....so this blog will explain the far BIGGER problem of MICRO PLASTICS.

Micro plastics are small plastic particles that are less than 5mm in size and enter our environment and our waterways via a number of different routes including surface run off, waste-water, plastic wastage and plastic bottles and cups.

According to research from The University of Newcastle, Australia, the average person consumes about 5g of plastic every week from water. The answer isn’t to reach for bottled water as it contains 22 times more micro plastic particles than tap water and they’re found in 93% of bottled water brands. 

On average, those drinking bottled water are ingesting 90,000 additional plastic particles to those drinking tap water each year. They can also enter our bodies through inhalation and skin contact.


HOW DO MICRO PLASTICS AFFECT HUMANS??? Until long-term research is available, it’s difficult for health organisations to provide guidance on this topic. Last year, the World Health Organisation published a report which concluded that micro plastic particles in drinking water are not harmful to human health at current levels. The report acknowledged that the advice was based on limited evidence and urgently called for more research and a reduction in plastic use globally. In this UK, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has also stated that current levels are “unlikely to cause harm”. 

Some scientists suspect micro plastics pose a greater risk to health than previously thought as animal and in vitro studies have suggested possible negative effects on inflammation, immunity, and the gut microbiome. 


WHAT DO MICRO PLASTICS LOOK LIKE???

They look pretty much like this...TINY particles of waste from all manner of environments. They are generally 5mm in size and come from a number of sources.


Over recent years, the COSMETICS Industry has tried to rid products of micro plastics known as microbeads. They are generally used for scrubbing and exfoliating so are placed into face and body scrubs, facial cleansers, make up and shower gels. 


The INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN AGAINST PLASTIC IN COSMETICS started a campaign in 2012 against the use of micro plastics in everyday products.  In 2015, with the research conducted by UNEP and TAUW, they came across a list of 67 micro plastic ingredients to be aware of.


NOW...in 2020, even with the restriction proposal in place, MORE THAN 500 MICRO PLASTIC INGREDIENTS are still in cosmetics and personal care products!!!

The alarming reality, is that micro plastics are EVERYWHERE, IN EVERYTHING...

There are only 15 countries in the whole world that have agreed to ban microbeads / micro plastics...


LIVING A ZERO WASTE LIFESTYLE MEANS HELPING TO REDUCE PLASTIC POLLUTION, BUT HOW...?

People around the world have come together to end plastic pollution, and it’s working. Greenpeace supporters have challenged Coca Cola to use less plastic, while countries like the UK have banned certain micro plastics. Supermarkets are starting to talk about what they need to do.


But we need to go much further to end the flow of plastics into the ocean. Food and drink companies need to slash the amount of unnecessary plastic packaging they use. We also need to get rid of single-use plastics – like cutlery and glasses – once and for all.


Find out how your supermarket ranked in Greenpeace's plastic league table...


Here are 6 easy ways to avoid/reduce micro plastics in your life:


1. Filter your tap water

2. Avoid ANY/ALL plastic containers

3. Avoid beauty products with microbeads. Look for the 0.

4. Air dry clothes, don't tumble dry them, if you can...tumble dryer sheets are also micro plastics.

5. Try to limit eating meat & fish...fish ingest micro plastics. 

6. Stick with non-synthetic clothing fibres. Choose pure cotton, try and stay away from things like polycotton, polyesters, nylons etc. 

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