Microplastics are everywhere, but nobody really knows what dangers they might present once they enter the human body. British toxicologist Rosemary Waring warns our oceans will be inundated with the stuff.
Interview Conducted by Philip Bethge
DER SPIEGEL: Plastic contamination of the environment seems to have reached epidemic levels. Of particular concern are tiny microplastic particles. Can these be a threat to human health?
Waring: I think we are left with a definite maybe. A key problem with plastics is that they are essentially indestructible. Rather than being biodegraded, they break down into smaller and smaller pieces, eventually becoming microscopic fragments. These can enter the human body either by inhalation or by ingestion. We don’t really know where they go, but in some marine animals, such particles have been shown to accumulate in the brain, liver and other tissues. This could be a problem.
DER SPIEGEL: Where do these particles come from?
Waring: Microplastics come from many sources, for example from the breakdown of larger items, abrasion from tires, microbeads from cosmetics or synthetic clothing fibers. ….
Continue reading at DER SPIEGEL