Seafood Consumers Ingest 11k Bits of Plastic Annually

A new study finds that an alarming amount of ocean trash makes it into the bloodstream of those who eat sea animals.

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Researchers at the University of Ghent in Belgium recently published a study finding that those who consume ocean life are concurrently consuming 11,000 pieces of microplastic per capita annually. The first comprehensive risk assessment of its kind, scientists determined that while certain animals have filter mechanisms to excrete ocean trash, some plastic particles remained lodged in their bodies and were transferred to the humans who consumed them. “Now we’ve established that they do enter our body and can stay there for quite a while,” study researcher Colin Janssen said, suggesting that possible consequences of consuming ocean life tainted with plastic include leaching chemicals into the body and creating inflammation in tissues. “The next generation or two generations might say they left us a rotten plastic legacy, because now we are suffering in various ways from that legacy,” Janssen said, urging activists and consumers “to do something about it.” Ocean life is being decimated by human activity—including plastic pollution and fish consumption—and the World Wildlife Fund recently predicted that if current practices continue, our oceans may be completely fish-free by 2048.