There's Probably Plastic In Your Table Salt

by: Lucy Jones | 7 months ago | News

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Plastic pollution has officially ruined another thing that you love. A new study has found that 92% of the world's table salt has tiny pieces of plastic in it. Researchers from South Korea’s Incheon National University and Greenpeace East Asia tested 39 brands of table salt from around the world and found microplastics in 36 of them. That means that most people are sprinkling plastic on their food before eating it. 

“Recent studies have found plastics in seafood, wildlife, tap water, and now in salt,” Mikyoung Kim, a campaigner for Greenpeace East Asia, said in a statement. “It’s clear that there is no escape from this plastics crisis, especially as it continues to leak into our waterways and oceans.”

The study, which was published this week in the Environmental Science and Technology journal, found that salt produced in certain regions was more likely to be contaminated. The 39 salt samples they tested came from Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal, Taiwan, Thailand, the UK, the US, and Vietnam. Of all the salt tested, the brands that were produced in countries in Asia had the most microplastics in them. This makes sense considering the lakes and rivers in these regions are some of the most polluted in the world.

“The results indicate that not only is Asia a hot spot of global plastic pollution, as previous studies have suggested, but also that sea salt can be a good indicator of the magnitude of [microplastics] pollution in the surrounding marine environment,” the researchers write.

The three microplastic-free salts were a refined sea salt from Taiwan, a refined rock salt from China, and an unrefined sea salt from France.

Based on their findings, researchers estimate that the average adult ingests approximately 2,000 pieces of microplastic each year via table salt. That's a scary statistic, but it’s even scarier once you realise that salt only accounts for 6% of a person's annual microplastic consumption. According to previous research, adults consume an average of 32,000 microplastics per year via tap water, mollusks and the air we breathe.

These statistics show us just how detrimental plastic pollution is for people and the planet.  

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