5th October 2019
Microplastics cause NO harm to life on earth! So take it easy.
The craze about microplastics has become a crescendo. Once again, there is a need for rational voices, which appear to be the rarest commodity on earth. See my note.
I have studied biology and know that there is NO WAY for large string molecules to be transported into cells. Only medium sized molecules, e.g. proteins that are broken down into components, can be transported. Even snake venom (a protein) can’t be ingested and can only affect us if it is directly injected into the blood stream where it must bond with specific receptors.
Unless someone injects plastic into our blood it can’t affect us. Moreover there are no mechanisms for plastics to bond various receptors, so it has ZERO EFFECT even if pumped into the body. It does have mechanical effects, as a piece of plastic, but we don’t ingest it (except for the most tiny particles – which, however do us no harm).
The scientific evidence on potential exposures and health risks of microplastics in the food supply is still evolving. However, available scientific studies and reports suggest that:
a) Human exposure to microplastics from eating finfish is likely to be negligible. This is because the microplastics are found in the gills, liver and intestines of the finfish, which are organs that are not typically eaten.
b) Eating shellfish is a possible route of human exposure because bivalves are eaten without the removal of the gastrointestinal tract. However this exposure is also expected to be very low, e.g. the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) estimated that consuming 225 grams of mussels with the highest reported amount of microplastics would result in an exposure of about 7 micrograms of plastic.
c) Absorption of intact plastic particles from the gut is likely to be very limited (≤0.3 %). In addition, because of the small mass of plastic consumed it is expected that there is unlikely to be significant increases in exposures to environmental chemicals such as PCBs, PAHs or bisphenol A that may adsorb to the plastic surface.
In light of this information, our current view is that plastic contamination of the food chain is unlikely to result in immediate health risks to consumers. This view is supported by EFSA, which considers that while further work is required, it seems unlikely microplastics are harmful to consumers.