Plastic in your fish: Synthetic clothing fibers found in 25% of fish from San Francisco market

Fish Market
CC BY-SA 3.0 Wikimedia

As we've written about extensively, there's a lot of tiny bits of plastic - microbeads from cosmetic products and fibers from clothes are two big sources - that make their way to waterways, where they are often ingested by various creatures and accumulate in the food chain. To find out just how much of this plastic pollution made its way back to ourselves, researchers at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine recently did a test on 64 fish bought at markets around San Francisco, California.

Fish marketWikimedia/CC BY-SA 3.0

Here is what they found:

In the UC Davis study, scientists randomly bought locally-caught fish at markets and dissected their guts at a laboratory in Davis. Plastic clothing fibers were found in the guts of about one-fourth of the smelt, anchovy, rockfish, bass, salmon, sanddab, cod and oysters.

Inadequate filtering by home laundry users and sewage treatment plants is suspected of being the source of the contamination (source)

This plastic contamination is not as hazardous as other types of frequent contamination, like mercury or PCBs, but it is still a problem, and shows that our water filtration and treatment systems are inadequate. “This study doesn’t make me afraid of eating fish,” said lead researcher Chelsea Rochman. “The health benefits outweigh the hazards of my being cotaminated with microplastics.”

Via SF Gate

Tags: Fish | Fishing | Plastics

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