Article: More Than Meets the Eye: Contribute to the World’s Largest Microplastics Dat

Regcabguy

Expedition Leader
The basic problem is that water treatment plants can't/won't/don't filter the micro beads well, for a variety of reasons. So, they end up in the waterways, lakes and oceans. There, they are consumed by small marine life - krill, shrimp, etc - where they choke on them and die in large numbers. This is problematic for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that larger species eat smaller ones and if there are fewer smaller ones, then you have fewer larger ones.

Another issue is that the plastics, because of their durability, bio-accumulate. These plastics leach chemicals used in their production -the most problematic of these being PCBs, DDE and various phthalates - which are known carcinogens aside from whatever other physiological affects their consumption entails.

Point is, it's not as benign as one might initially suppose, and we don't have a good understanding of the magnitude of the issue. The micro beads have been turning up in a bunch of surprising places, which what this research aims to find out.
Not a proponent of microplastics but being indigestible wouldn't the particles just pass through?
 

jeepgc

Adventurer
Probably for the larger particles, but;

"The worry with smaller particles is they can be taken up by a greater range of organisms and, if they reach nano-scale, they could penetrate cell membranes and translocate into organs much more easily than the larger fraction.”

All of this is only speculation currently.

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Finlay

Triarius
Not a proponent of microplastics but being indigestible wouldn't the particles just pass through?
"These plastics leach chemicals used in their production -the most problematic of these being PCBs, DDE and various phthalates - which are known carcinogens aside from whatever other physiological affects their consumption entails."

To what extent these microplastics leach whatever they are made of into the things that eat them is currently not well understood. The whole point of digestion is to chemically extract chemicals - and bodies are filters - whatever goes in, and doesn't come out somehow, stays there. Like a filter.

When you enjoy cow tongue you're sharing every cow that cow has kissed. You eat what the things you eat ate.
 
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