Researchers have already found microplastics in bottled water and chemicals in your takeout. Now, in the first study of its kind, they’ve discovered microplastics in people’s bodies, according to new findings presented in Vienna, Austria.
Of the eight participants in the study, six ate fish or shellfish. Microplastics can enter food during various steps of food processing and packaging, but the researchers say that seafood might also be a main source.
Between two and five percent of plastics on the planet enter the ocean, where they’re eaten by the same fish that end up on people’s plates, says study author Philipp Schwabl, Ph.D., a researcher and physician scientist at the Medical University of Vienna.
More studies need to be done to find out exactly what effects microplastics have on humans, but they could increase the risk of autism, ADHD, and breast and prostate cancers.
It’s too early to recommend cutting fish out of your diet, though tuna, lobster, and shrimp might be the top offenders. Schwabl suggests using less plastic and buying fewer food and beverages with plastic packaging to reduce the amount that enters the oceans and ultimately, your body.