Dear Heloise: I keep reading about how microplastic particles are found in our food, and I’m worried about how this will affect humans in the long-term where our health is concerned. Can this be another cancer-causing agent? — Janelle T., Shawnee, Oklahoma
Janelle, according to the Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, microplastic is less than 5 mm in size. It enters the ecosystem through many different ways and is commonly found as a result of things such as laundry and dishwasher pods, glitter, wet wipes, tea bags and much more. Many people see it as an emerging threat to human health, but as of now, not enough studies have been done to fully understand what the dangers are — or if there is any danger. Yes, microplastic has been found in the ocean, and in fact, there is believed to be about 276,000 tons of plastic floating in our oceans right now.
In humans, we know that much of the microplastic is flushed out through our elimination system. One thing you can do is eat a fiber-rich diet and stay hydrated to help remove these microplastic particles. The public will know more about this subject as more studies are conducted, but for now, we need to eliminate the plastic in our oceans and recycle all our plastic. Or, use paper in place of plastic whenever possible. — Heloise