Understanding What Microplastics Can Do to Your Health

Plastic cup of water with straw on table

How Does Microplastics Impact Your Health?

Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic litter that end up in our water and food supply. We already looked at how microplastics happen, so now we’re going to look at a variety of health effects of microplastics.

Health Impact of Microplastics

Microplastic ingestion and exposure is a relatively new problem, or rather it was discovered relatively recently. Plastic is a common part of everyday life and it has been so for many decades. Plastic production began in the 1950s and 1960s and it has continued to increase over the years.

Recycling has not kept pace with plastic production, so there is a lot of plastic in landfills and as litter. This is the cause of the microplastic problem. Scientists all over the world have identified microplastics in food and water and they are now looking into who is at risk and beginning to look into the ramifications of ingesting microplastics. While not a lot is known, what is known is not good. Here is what can happen when people ingest microplastic.

4 Health Effects of Microplastics

1. Interfere with Hormones

Exposure to microplastics, like bisphenol A and phthalates has been shown to reduce fertility in both women and men and reduce testosterone in men. Some plastic chemicals mimic the hormone estrogen or disrupt other hormones.

2. Nervous System Complications

Styrene is a chemical compound found in plastic, particularly plastic food packaging. Exposure to styrene can cause problems with the nervous system. The nervous system relays signals throughout the body. When the nervous system is compromised those signals are not relayed and that can drastically impact an individual’s quality of life.

3. Cancer

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have been shown to cause many different types of cancers. Microwaving food in plastic containers, particularly if those containers have been scratched or previously damaged, is thought to increase the risk.

4. Weakened Immune System

PCBs are also shown to weaken the immune system. When a person’s immune system is compromised they can much more easily become sick with everything from the common cold, the flu, pneumonia, and more. These illnesses can lead to further illness, complications, and even death.

Reduce Your Risk

Completely avoiding microplastics is exceedingly difficult and almost impossible. However, there are things you can do to limit your exposure to microplastics. Taking small steps, like avoiding plastic, particularly single-use plastic, as much as possible can significantly reduce your exposure. Opting for reusable items, like reusable shopping bags, reusable straws, and more can help protect you and your loved ones.

Protection Against Microplastics

Using less single-use plastic can significantly reduce the amount of microplastic out in the world. You can help your customers reduce their impact with your marketing. Create your own custom reusable bags online so your customers can kick their single-use plastic bag habit and reduce the number of single-use plastic bags that end up in landfills or as litter and ultimately contribute to the microplastic problem.

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