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Microplastics Found in Fruit and Vegetables for the First Time

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July 9th, 2020

By Nikki Harper

Staff Writer for Wake Up World

Here at Wake Up World, we’ve written before about the increasing threat to human health posed by microplastics, particularly when bottled watershellfish and sea salt are contaminated by tiny microbeads and microfibers. However, two worrying new studies published recently are highlighting increasing levels of microplastics in our crops and vegetables too.

The first study has been published in the journal Environmental Research and was carried out by the University of Catania Department of Hygiene, in Italy. The study found evidence of microplastics in carrots, lettuce, broccoli, potatoes, apples, and pears, both from supermarkets and local produce sellers in the area. Apples were the worst affected fruits, and carrots were the worst affected of the vegetable samples [1].

As a result of this study, the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), in consultation with the European Commission, has started a process of looking into food safety specifically with regard to microplastics.

As to how the microplastics get into the fruit and vegetables in the first place, the second peer-reviewed study, published in Nature Sustainability has answers to that. This research, carried out by Yanthai Institute in China and Leiden University in the Netherlands, shows that microplastics are penetrating the roots of soil-grown produce, before making their way to the edible parts of the plants [2].

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