Yes, we know there’s a lot of plastic in the ocean. We’ve seen the news reports about plastic in whales’ digestive systems and sea life tangled in plastic waste. That’s the big plastic. The micro-sized plastic? We’re eating and inhaling it.
A study published by the American Chemical Society reports that in a year’s time we consume about 100,000 pieces of micro-sized plastic, most too small to be visible. The study estimated that adult men, on average, would eat, drink and breathe in 121,664 particles during a year — that’s 333 per day — while women would take in 98,305 — 270 per day. The numbers are projected from more than 3,600 samples of items, including air, alcohol, bottled water, honey, seafood, salt, sugar and tap water.
The production of plastics still increases every year, so researchers are not surprised that it is finding its way into our food chain. The research is in its beginning stages and scientists speculate that our actual plastic intake is really much more than what they have found so far. Beef and pork, for example, have not yet been studied. Nor have processed foods which are likely to be a bonanza of plastics.
Researchers say they do not yet have enough data to speculate on what this means. Maybe we’ll learn that eating plastic is good for us.
So far there is no Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for plastic.