BBC: Microplastics are finding their way into fruit and vegetables as they grow


Really good, but a little long, article about microplastics in our food. In short the microplastics are making their way into the food through the roots of the produce as it grows. This is a problem in the USA and EU (including the UK), and they may not be a way to remove them.


Microplastics have infiltrated every part of the planet. They have been found buried in Antarctic sea ice, within the guts of marine animals inhabiting the deepest ocean trenches, and in drinking water around the world. Plastic pollution has been found on beaches of remote, uninhabited islands and it shows up in sea water samples across the planet. One study estimated that there are around 24.4 trillion fragments of microplastics in the upper regions of the world’s oceans.

[A lot of really good information about how the farm land is contaminated and just how bad it is in both the US and Europe]

According to research by Willie Peijnenburg, professor of environmental toxicology and biodiversity at Leiden University in the Netherlands, crops absorb nanoplastic particles – minuscule fragments measuring between 1-100nm in size, or about 1,000 to 100 times smaller than a human blood cell – from surrounding water and soil through tiny cracks in their roots.

Analysis revealed that most of the plastics accumulated in the plant roots, with only a very small amount travelling up to the shoots. “Concentrations in the leaves are well below 1%,” says Peijnenburg. For leafy vegetables such as lettuces and cabbage, the concentrations of plastic would likely then be relatively low, but for root vegetables such as carrots, radishes and turnips, the risk of consuming microplastics would be greater, he warns.


h/t Brown Star Kachina


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