Over 90% of sampled salt
brands globally were found to contain microplastics, with the highest number
coming from salt sourced in Asia, according to a new study co-designed by
Professor Kim Seung-Kyu at Incheon National University and Greenpeace East
Asia. The paper has been published on
the top academic journal Environmental Science & Technology.
The study analyzed 39 various salt brands globally, showing that plastic contamination in sea salt was highest, followed by lake salt, then rock salt - an indicator of the levels of plastic pollution in the areas where the salt was sourced. Only three of the salt brands studied did not contain any microplastic particles in the replicated samples. The results indicate that not only is Asia a hot spot of global plastic pollution, as previous studies have suggested, but also that sea salt can be a good indicator of the magnitude of microplastic pollution in the surrounding marine environment.
"The findings suggest that human ingestion of microplastics via marine products is strongly related to plastic emissions in a given region," said Professor Kim, Seung-Kyu, corresponding author of the study. "In order to limit our exposure to microplastics, preventative measures are required, such as controlling the environmental discharge of mismanaged plastics and more importantly, reducing plastic waste" he added.
We have seen countries and companies started to phase out microplastics use in personal care products as the first step towards a global solution. We need more commitment and concrete actions plans from different stakeholders. One of the first platform will be the second ad hoc open ended expert group meeting on marine litter and microplastics to be held in Geneva in early December. It's to time to demonstration your ambition, delegates!
(Kim et.al. (2018.) Global Pattern of Microplastics (MPs) in Commercial Food-Grade Salts: Sea Salt as an Indicator of Seawater MP Pollution. Environmental Science & Technology Article ASAP. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.8b04180)