The Risks of Microplastics to Our Health and Marine Ecosystems
Despite not being broadly documented scientifically, it is accepted that Microplastics can cause significant harm to marine life and humans indirectly through the consumption of affected fish.
Many persistent organic pollutants float around the oceans at low concentrations, but their hydrophobic nature concentrates them on the surface of plastic particles. Marine animals mistakenly feed on the microplastics, and at the same time ingest the toxic pollutants. The chemicals accumulate in the animal tissues and then increase in concentration as the pollutants are transferred up the food chain.
As the plastics degrade and become brittle, they leach out monomers like BPA which can then be absorbed by marine life, with relatively little-known consequences.
Besides the associated chemical loads, ingested plastic materials can be damaging for marine organisms, as they can lead to digestive blockage or internal damage from abrasion. There is still much research needed to properly evaluate this issue.
Being so numerous, microplastics provide abundant surfaces for small organisms to attach. This dramatic increase in colonization opportunities can have population-level consequences. In addition, these plastics are essentially rafting for organisms to travel further than they usually would, making them vectors for spreading invasive marine species.
If this was the case though, then Microplastics could potentially enter into the food network and thus eventually make their way into humans causing various unconfirmed effects to our health.
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