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
Dear Heloise: Did you know credit cards are now filthy? People use them so often that they forget that they are handled by many people or put into machines that are loaded with bacteria from other people’s cards. I wipe my cards down with an antibacterial wipe every week to kill the germs residing on it. — Betty-Jean W., Monrovia, Indiana
Dear Heloise: I got an email from what I thought was my bank asking me to update my information. Everything looked legitimate and even had my bank’s logo on it, so I thought it might be OK to answer the questions, until it also asked me for my password. I knew then that this was a phishing scheme to get all of my financial information. I forwarded this email to my bank and let them know what was going on. They handled it from there. Thankfully, the scammers didn’t get anything from me. That afternoon, I went to the bank to change my debit card and banking information. I also changed my password. — Stanley B., Houston
Dear Heloise: I just found out that you can clean copper with ketchup. Beer can be used to clean gilt picture frames. Cola can be used to remove most stains from glazed china. Toothpaste can come in handy to clean the face of antique ceramic dolls. White vinegar and water in equal parts does a nice job of cleaning windows and even some wood furniture, but just try cleaning a very small area before you clean the entire piece of furniture with water and vinegar. I mean … who knew?! — Jerry C., Columbus, Ohio