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Fancy Eating Fish? How Our Seafood May Contain Plastic From Pollution

By Brian Spaen

Ocean waters are littered with large amounts of plastic and it comes from more places than we think. While some will do their part in recycling grocery bags, orange juice jugs, and worn-out containers, there are many other sources that aren’t often thought about. Inefficient wastewater management, fibers from washed clothing, and the increase in plastic production all are further reasons why we have so much trash in the sea. Even worse, many don’t realize how bad this is for our eating habits.

Studies conducted last summer that fish are inhaling plastic at a rapid rate. Scientists have likened it to teenagers consuming fast food. Bacteria found on the plastic tends to be more attractive to the fish than other options. It’s a slippery slope, because once they develop that appetite, it’s what they prefer. When these fish are caught and prepared as food for us, we end up taking in that plastic as well. Over 93 percent of United States citizens have absorbed BPA, a plastic chemical, in their lifetime. It can enter the body just from the use of plastic containers.

Pollution continues to grow in the oceans. There’s a collection of garbage patches, and trash has now floated all the way to the Arctic waters. While only three percent of the total plastic pollution is there, it’s still a similar volume of trash. Tiny plastics are found floating at the top of the water, and smaller pieces are the most dangerous for fish to consume. As bigger pieces travel along the ocean, the sun will break them down into smaller pieces as well.