The study, Assessing plastic ingestion from nature to people, found that the average person ingests five grams of plastic each week – the equivalent of chowing down a credit card once per week, due to the presence of microplastic.
Microplastics are pieces of plastic smaller than 5mm that appear in food, water and air. These plastics can come from artificial clothing fibres, microbeads and large pieces of plastic that have been broken down. Once these plastics are ingested by marine life, it ends up in the human food chain.
Scarily, it seems our daily cup of tea may also be compromised.
Another study by McGill University in Canada used electron microscopy to find that tea bags made of plastic, when placed in water at brewing temperature, released about 11.6 billion microplastic and 3.1 billion nanoplastic particles into the water. These levels were thousands of times higher than those reported previously in other foods. While the harmful effects of plastic ingestion haven’t yet been identified, it’s safe to assume that eating plastic isn’t all that good for us.
So, what can you do to help prevent drinking down microplastics with your tea? Avoid plastic teabags and choose paper tea bags or loose-leaf tea – which is even better as it reduce much single-use packaging.
Did you know balloons are a massive issue for our environment? Watch the news story below on why one mum is on a mission to ban balloons.