Mussels, oysters and caps have the highest level of microplastic pollution among seafood, new research reveals.
The research – led by researchers from Hull York School of Medicine and Hull University – examined more than 50 studies between 2014 and 2020 to investigate global levels of microplastic contamination in fish and shellfish.
Scientists are still trying to understand the health implications for people who eat fish and shellfish contaminated with these tiny particles of waste plastic that, through poor waste management, finds its way into watercourses and oceans.
The study’s author, Evangelos Danopoulos, a graduate student at Hull York School of Medicine, said: “No one still fully understands the full impact of microplastics on the human body, but early evidence from other studies suggests they are causing harm.
“A critical step in understanding the full impact on human consumption is to first fully determine the levels of microplastics that humans ingest. We can begin this by looking at how much seafood and fish is eaten and measuring the amount of representatives in those creatures.”
The study shows that the content of microplastics was 0-10.5 microplastics per gram (MP / g) in molluscs, 0.1-8.6 MP / g in crustaceans, 0-2.9 MP / g in fish.
The latest consumption data in the survey shows that China, Australia, Canada, Japan and the US are among the largest consumers of mollusks, followed by Europe and the UK.
Molluscs collected along Asian coasts were the most polluted by researchers who suggest that these areas are more heavily polluted with plastic.
Evangelos Danopoulos added: “Microplastics are found in various parts of organisms, such as intestines and liver. Seafood species such as oysters, shellfish and shellfish are consumed whole, while in larger fish and mammals only parts are consumed. Therefore, understanding microplastic contamination certain parts of the body and their consumption by humans is crucial. “
Plastic waste generated worldwide is expected to triple to 155-265 million metric tons per year by 2060. When plastic is found in oceans, lakes and rivers, it has the potential to end up as a microplastic inside shellfish, fish and marine mammals.
The research points to the need to standardize methods of measuring microplastic contamination so that different measurements can be more easily compared. Researchers said more data is needed from different parts of the world to understand how the problem differs between different oceans, seas and waterways.
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