The microplastics thread. 195,500 particles/gm microplastics in apple? 126,150 particles/gm in broccoli? Coffee, etc

I fainted when I read this… If there’s any source of consolation, how many particles of air pollution do we breathe in per day? (given an average µg/m³ of 10). chatgpt was useless

And from a NIST paper… (TRILLIONS of nanoparticles per liter of coffee in paper cups)


220 million

The Total: 220,000,000 Particles!

Wow, we’re breathing around 220 million tiny PM2. 5 particles every day, or just over 2,500 per second. Looking at their weight, in one day we’re breathing 622 micrograms of PM2.May 24, 2017

^This is in Beijing though, so for US air pollution you can multiply it by 10/72 (also decrease for 35% of time spent outdoors). Whatever it is, even at a healthy pollution of 7.2 ug/m^3, it’s 22 million PM2.5 particles per day…

meanwhile, using this logic, if you eat a kg of an apple each day, then that’s 195 million particles of plastic PER kg… (and if you eat 3 kg of food), that’s almost 600 million particles of plastic per kg. It’s then not entirely clear if we’re exposed to more pollution from air or from our diet…

Families Inhale 7,000 Microplastic Particles At Home Every Day, Reveals Study (2021) says we breathe in 7000 MPs at home each day (this is nothing compared to 22 million PM2.5 particles at home per day)

1 Like › gallery › 2020/12/11 › in-…

Dec 11, 2020 — And over a lifetime, we consume about 20kg (44 lb) of microplastic. Pieces of plastic straws weighing 0.7g, the equivalent of the amount of …


How much plastic do you eat? It could be as much as a credit … › green › 2022/04/11 › ho…
](How much plastic do you eat? It could be as much as a credit card a week | Euronews)

Apr 11, 2022 — A recent study has found that people eat five grams of micro and nanoplastics every week. From the most remote depths of the ocean, …

These are all from older sources.

from 2019…

The average person eats at least 50,000 particles of microplastic a year and breathes in a similar quantity, according to the first study to estimate human ingestion of plastic pollution.

The true number is likely to be many times higher, as only a small number of foods and drinks have been analysed for plastic contamination. The scientists reported that drinking a lot of bottled water drastically increased the particles consumed.

…yeah… the study above shows 195,500 particles per GRAM of apple, which is WAY higher than 50,000 particles per year… => from the 2019 WWF study (which is a huge underestimate)

human consumption of microplastics - (2019)

People who drink only from plastic bottles can consume 90,000 microplastic particles annually compared to 4,000 particles for people who drank only tap water

90k microplastic particles annually (in bottled water, the worst source?) vs 195,500 particles PER GRAM in an apply? Something is inconsistent

People who drink only from plastic bottles can consume 90,000 microplastic particles annually compared to 4,000 particles for people who drank only tap water. When the 2018 Orb study for Business Insider was originally released, Aquafina and Dasani both told the magazine their bottled water is tested to strict standards and pass through high-quality filtration systems. Nestlé said the company hasn’t found microplastics in its water bottles beyond a “trace level”, disputing the study numbers. Evian did not respond to a request for comment. But studies suggest that particles do, in fact, exist in bottled water. They come out of our taps, too (though likely in smaller amounts than plastic bottle concentrations). The scientists warn that their findings are “likely drastic underestimates overall”.

Another marine food source of microplastics is sea salt, one kilogram of which can contain more than 600 microplastics. If you eat the maximum daily intake of 5 grams of salt, this would mean you would typically consume three microplastics particles a day. New research now shows microplastics in 90 percent of the table salt brands sampled worldwide. Salt samples from 21 countries in Europe, North and South America, Africa and Asia were analyzed, and only three brands did not contain microplastics— refined sea salt from Taiwan, refined rock salt from China, and unrefined sea salt from France produced by solar evaporation. The study was published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology on October 4, 2018.

According to collaborative research done by scientists at the University of Minnesota and the State University of New York at Fredonia, microplastic fibers or particles were present in each brand of beer tested that used tap water drawn from the Great Lakes. In their paper, published in the journal*, Public Library of Science*, the team found that in each of the 12 mainly Pilsner-style beers tested from all five Great Lakes, the number of particles per liter ranged from 0-14.3 and averaged 4.05.

Fish and shellfish aren’t our only food sources that can contain microplastics. Just 15 percent of a person’s caloric intake is associated with the consumption of up to 52,000 microplastics annually. And the researchers note that several major U.S. food groups—including poultry, beef, dairy, grains, and vegetables—have not been studied for their microplastic contamination. In addition, the scientists weren’t able to assess how much plastic might be entering our bodies from food packaging.


The fruit study (from the italian who has their own patented method to measure MPs) estimates consumption of 70k-90k microplastic PARTICLES in shellfish each day.

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- 2019 study [ ] These numbers are WAY below the Conti et al. 2020 study on fruits/vegetables, so now I don’t even know what numbers to believe anymore.

From a 2022 review (Microplastics in food: scoping review on health effects, occurrence, and human exposure | International Journal of Food Contamination | Full Text ). This review cites the fruit/vegetable study without paying attention to the huge (and weird) discrepancy between the fruit/vegetable study and 93 separate studies on fish species

In the review paper on plastic ingestion by marine fish in the wild, Markic et al. (2020) systematically reviewed 93 papers published between 1972 and 2019. Results of the review study revealed that plastic ingestion was recorded in 323 species (65.4%) out of a total of 494 examined marine fish species. In the review of papers published from March 2019 to March 2020 Sequeira et al. (2020) revealed that a median of 60% of fish, belonging to 198 species captured in 24 countries, contained MPs in their organs. Environments included marine (52%), freshwater (31%) or mangrove (7%), estuarine and marine (5%), and only estuarine (5%). Minimum and maximum concentrations of MPs in fish were in the range of 0 to 5 and 4 to 56 particles, respectively. Carnivores species contained more MPs than omnivores and the most common polymer types were PE, PP, PET and PA. Galafassi et al. (2021) reviewed papers on the occurrence of MPs in freshwater fish species. Environments included rivers, lakes, estuarine environments, aquaculture ponds, wetlands or mangrove forests and drinking water reservoirs. Results of the review revealed that plastic ingestion was recorded in 257 species from over 32 different countries. The occurrence of MPs in tested samples reached 90% in some cases and MPs abundance ranged from values of 0 to 4 particles/fish to maximum observations of ~ 6 to 30 particles/fish. The most common polymer types identified were PE, PS, PP, rayon, PA, cellophane and acrylonitrile. Only a few studies have investigated the presence of MPs in biological matrices different from the digestive system, gills and skin. In his review paper, Kwon et al. (2020) reviewed over 30 papers reporting the presence of MPs in various types of shellfish. The most investigated species was blue mussel and the majority of reported MPs concentrations were less than one particle/gram. Concentrations were slightly higher in other types of shellfish with an exception of a high reported mean concentration of 297.74 particles/gram found in Atlantic mud crab.

FISH? These numbers are way lower.

Horvatits et al. assessed microplastic contamination in liver, spleen and kidney samples. The number of plastic particles ranged from 0 to 2.2 per gram of healthy tissue, but this was indistinguishable from background contamination of blank samples, which also ranged from 0.2 to 2.2 particles. However, liver samples from patients suffering from liver disease (cirrhosis) had a 8-fold increase in plastic contamination compared to blank and to liver samples from healthy individuals [median number of particles per gram of tissue = 8.4 vs 0.6 (blank), and 8.4 vs 0.7 (healthy liver)].

These numbers should be compared to numbers found in actual animal tissue (b/c human tissue is more similar to animal tissue than to plant tissue)…

Over 400 million tons of plastic are produced globally each year. It is estimated that one third of all plastic waste ends up in soils or freshwaters. Most of this plastic disintegrates into particles smaller than five millimetres, referred to as microplastics, and breaks down further into nanoparticles, which are less than 0.1 micrometre in size. In fact, terrestrial microplastic pollution is much higher than marine microplastic pollution – an estimate of four to 23 times more, depending on the environment. Sewage, for example, is an important factor in the distribution of microplastics. In fact, 80 to 90 per cent of the particles contained in sewage, such as from garment fibres, persist in the sludge. Sewage sludge is then often applied to fields as fertilizer, meaning that several thousand tons of microplastics end up in our soils each year.

Terrestrial systems have received far less scientific attention than their aquatic counterparts (Figure S1). Notwithstanding, microplastic contamination on land might be 4-23-fold larger than in the ocean (Horton, Walton, et al., 2017). Indeed, agricultural soils alone might store more microplastics than oceanic basins (Nizzetto, Futter, & Langaas, 2016). Microplastic threats to aquatic systems are often related to the fact that, for organisms living in a liquid environment, microplastics may represent particulate targets for ingestion (Rehse, Kloas, & Zarfl, 2016), solid surfaces for transport of contaminants (Zhan et al., 2016), or the potential of physical damage (Barnes et al., 2009). Focusing on these factors might have led to an underestimation of microplastic threats to terrestrial species, because neither particulate material nor solid surfaces are rare in continental systems.

Plastics may be more of an issue on land… (this is a NIST paper, it is also published in a quality journal, and has the more concerning number of 70 TRILLION particles of MPs per coffee cup)…

Trillions of nanoparticles… I don’t know what to, like, even believe anymore. How long did paper cups use the plastic-y ingredients?


Another coffee paper (this shows 70,000 particles but this should be superceded by the above study b/c the above study is by someone from NIST):


Even organic does not avoid microplastic contamination. They have to not water with unfiltered wastewater (Bayreuth people have found a way)

I’ve been watching more videos on microplastics/nanoplastics (and their shape)lately. Not all microplastics/nanoplastics should be called equal. It’s possible that “food grade nanoplastics” are not the worst possible thing for the cell (given that it doesn’t seem to reverse the sign of coffee/tea’s effect on longevity). But I am also only telling this to myself to make myself feel better.

Harvard uses which are lined with plant-based PLA, but it’s not fully clear if PLA is safer (some 2022 tests show PLA as being even worse for invertebrates). We must note that even plant based resins/tannins/cellulose can get stuck in animal cells too (it’s unclear how the total volume of that compares with the total volume of microplastics that get stuck in cells)

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Qingrun Liu et al. (2021) have reported microplastics enter the soil ecosystem mostly through mulching and littering. After mulching, lm and other wastes decompose into microplastics/nanoplastics (M/NPs), which are subsequently transported to plants (fruits and vegetables) and animals (meat and milk) via sewage sludge, composting, and irrigation. Microplastics is easily penetrate through seeds, roots, stems, leaves, fruits and plant cells because of their size and type under controlled conditions the uptake of microplastics has been reported. MPs can pass through plant cell walls and membrane barriers, obstruct cell pores and cause cell death that can be reported by Raza Ullah et al. (2021). Li et al. (2019) had reported polystyrene MPs can be transfer and accumulated in the roots of raw vegetables and transmitted from root to shoot tissues. Ng et al. (2018) had reported microplastic uptake, translocation and accumulation differ from one plant species to the other, depending on anatomical and physiological characteristics. Li et al. (2019) reported polystyrene MPs can be transfer and accumulated in the roots of raw vegetables and transmitted from root to shoot tissues. Polystyrene MPs can be transferred and deposited in the roots of fresh vegetables and they can also be passed from root to shoot tissues. Root and xylem features, growth rate, transpiration, water and lipid fractions, tonoplast and plasma membrane potential, and the pH of vacuoles and cytoplasm are some of the plant characteristics that in uence microplastic uptake.

Enyoh Christian Ebere et al. (2019) have reported humans could consume 80 g of microplastics per day through plants as a food source. Once microplastics penetrate the plants and accumulate, they can serve as a potential route for entering the food chain, where they might bio magnify and cause serious health problems in humans. Zhang et al. (2020) have investigated the impact of MPs on agricultural soil and discovered that higher MP concentrations resulted in increased soil mobility, posing potential dangers to crop plants and humans

from an ACS article (I really do not know if this incorporates nanoplastic exposures):

To make their model, the researchers identified 134 studies that reported microplastic concentrations in fish, mollusks, crustaceans, tap or bottled water, beer, milk, salt and air. They performed corrections to the data so that they could be accurately compared among the different studies. Then, the team used data on food consumption in different countries for various age groups to estimate ranges of microplastic ingestion. This information, combined with rates of microplastic absorption from the gastrointestinal tract and excretion by the liver, was used to estimate microplastic distribution in the gut and tissues. The model predicted that, by the age of 18, children could accumulate an average of 8,300 particles (6.4 ng) of microplastics in their tissues, whereas by the age of 70, adults could accrue an average of 50,100 microplastic particles (40.7 ng). The estimated amounts of four chemicals leaching from the plastics were small compared with a person’s total intake of these compounds, the researchers concluded. These data suggest that prior studies might have overestimated microplastic exposure and possible health risks, but it will be important to assess the contributions of other food types to ingestion and accumulation, the researchers say.

MPs generally tend to be quickly covered with an organic layer of proteins and other biomolecules, which is known as protein corona in biological fluids, or ecocorona in freshwater and seawater (Galloway et al., 2017). More specifically, it is possible to make a further distinction between the inner tightly adhered, irreversibly fixed “hard corona” and the outer loosely attached, exchangeable “soft corona

In a second study, to be published in the journal Nature Sustainability, scientists studied lettuce and wheat crops to suggest that microplastics enter the plants by being absorbed with water into the roots — through what they dubbed a ‘crack-entry pathway’.

‘Most microplastics are emitted either directly or via degradation of plastics, to the terrestrial environment and accumulate in large amounts in soils, thus representing a potential threat to terrestrial ecosystems,’ the researchers said.

'The plastic particles (after entering the plants) were subsequently transported from the roots to the shoots.

‘Higher transpiration rates enhanced uptake of plastic particles, showing that the transpirational pull was the main driving force for their movement.’

The scientists analysed whether the pollutants were absorbed by placing fluorescent microplastics in treated wastewater.

Leafy greens are still safest (and they’re the most keto veggie)

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Over the ocean, plastic concentration might be less than one particle per cubic meter, but above Beijing it’s 5,600, and above London it’s 2,500.

And then there are the nanoplastics, which are smaller than a millionth of a meter, the product of larger bits degrading until they finally reach the nano realm. Very few scientists have the equipment and expertise required to sample for nanoplastics, but one team working in the remote Alps found that a minimum of 200 billion particles fell on a single square meter of a mountain each week. The atmosphere is positively teeming with plastic particles—yet scientists can’t detect them all.

Just because something is relatively uncertain does not mean that we should erroneously assume net negative effects at low doses.

As mentioned, I do have an abundance of precautions regarding MP/NPs and I have done a few minor alterations years ago, but I also realize that actionable recommendations are actually very limited when you consider the net possible effect vs substitution in many cases from population to individual level recommendations. Keep in mind, the biggest effective interventions on a population level are cutting air pollution (including indoor) and avoiding highly processed options/heated or sunlight-exposed plastic as a heuristic. Not much is new even before all this explosion of research that doesn’t get us much closer to answering what interventions are reasonable. All the results collected to date do not allow significant extrapolation to mammalian or human health.

At low concentrations/doses, MPs/NPs may simply have negligible toxic effects. Drawing too quick of a conclusion from fear-based uncertainty as opposed to proven likely net benefits tends to approach a bad gamble.

If anything, chronic activation in the HPA axis may lead to cancer, dementia, and death, so does repeated hypoglycemic episodes from a combination of multiple anti-hyperglycemic drugs due to excessive fear of sugar leading to dementia. An appropriate amount of fear and anxiety is key. If you nearly fainted that might suggest excessive amounts.

The HPA freakout was a one time thing, as was the hypoglycemia from trying ketosis. None of these are chronic things.

The effects of these one time events are nothing compared to the potential effects of microplastics not to mention that microplastics cause direct damage unlike stress hormones (CR moderately increases stress hormones too). Stress is only bad when chronic

I am eating WAY fewer apples than before

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