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Source: iStock

Microplastics Found in All Dead Dolphins, Whales, and Seals Tested in British Waters

By Carly Sitzer

Researchers at the University of Exeter and Plymouth Marine Laboratory recently conducted an experiment — with support from Greenpeace Research Laboratories — and examined 50 different marine animals, consisting of 10 species of dolphins, seals, and whales. They took the marine mammals — who had died prior to the research — and found that microplastics were found in every single one of the animals examined. 

Microplastic is any plastic debris measuring less than five millimeters in length — the ​National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration​ (NOAA) equates the size to that of a sesame seed; these synthetic fibers come from a variety of sources — including, but not limited to, clothes, plastic bottles, packaging, fishing nets, etc. 

In the animals examined on the shores on British waters, an average of 5.5 particles was found in each animal examined; according to the study, the most commonly found particles were fibers and the majority of the animals were exposed to the microplastics through ingestion but, the researchers note, they are unaware of the effect that microplastics have on these marine animals.