Should You Be Concerned About Plastic And Other Human Debris In Your Seafood?


Published:

By now, you’ve probably heard of the massive, floating garbage patches swirling around in each of Earth’s five major ocean basins: the North and South Atlantic, the North and South Pacific, and the Indian Ocean.

Recent research has shown that mankind’s trash does not get trapped in these oceanic gyres forever, as was previously thought, but that currents flowing away from the gyres in the Pacific Ocean allow the debris to eventually wash up on the shores of North and South America.

Scientists are also becomingly increasingly concerned about another place where ocean trash might be ending up: the guts (or whatever passes for a digestive tract) in marine life. Plastics and other debris that degrade very slowly can leach harmful chemicals into the ocean. Does that mean your seafood might be carrying these toxins, too?

A study published in the journal Scientific Reports last September noted that marine debris is found in just about every ocean habitat, from the open ocean and the deep seas to coral reefs, estuaries, and shallow bays. Ocean trash has also been found in hundreds of marine wildlife species, including fish and bivalve species like tuna, swordfish, mussels, and oysters — the types of species you might be more familiar with as “seafood.”

There are several ways this can affect human health: marine debris can cause physical harm such as inflammation and laceration of tissues in the gastrointestinal tract of humans who ingest it via seafood, for instance, while consuming marine debris can also increase the levels of hazardous chemicals in humans. But, as the authors of the study write, “The first step in understanding potential impacts of anthropogenic marine debris on human health is to determine whether anthropogenic marine debris is present in fish and shellfish caught and sold for human consumption.”

The study’s authors, a team of researchers from the University of California, Davis and Indonesia’s University of Hasanuddin, sampled fish sold in markets in Half Moon Bay and Princeton, California and in Makassar, Indonesia. They found that, in Indonesia, debris was present in 28 percent of individual fish and 55 percent of all species sampled. The US markets had similar numbers, with debris found in 25 percent of individual fish and 67 percent of all species. Anthropogenic debris was also found in 33 percent of individual shellfish the team sampled.

All of the debris recovered from fish in Indonesia was plastic, whereas anthropogenic debris recovered from fish in the USA was primarily fibers used in textiles. The researchers attribute this discrepancy in debris types to the different sources of marine debris and the particular waste management strategies employed by each country.

Research released by University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) scientists in June showed just how ubiquitous fibers from textiles might be, and not just in ocean ecosystems. “[M]icrofibers are prevalent in both aquatic and terrestrial habitats, from the bottom of the Indian Ocean to farmland in the United States,” the researchers wrote on their website.

The UCSB researchers found that every time a synthetic jacket is washed, some 1.7 grams of microfibers are released from the washing machine, on average. These microfibers then travel to the local wastewater treatment plant, and from there, as much as 40 percent of them are likely to enter into rivers, lakes, and oceans.

Once microfibers and plastics and other debris make their way into aquatic environments, they are easily consumed by marine wildlife. The authors of the Scientific Reports study said that their measurements of occurrence and quantity of marine debris in seafood are conservative, however, because the team did not count particles smaller than 0.5 millimeters in every dimension or fibers that matched the color of their lab coats and clothing.

“Still, across both locations, we found anthropogenic debris in the gut contents of greater than a quarter of individual fishes and shellfish and in the majority of species sampled — all marketed for human consumption,” they write in the study. “This result may not be surprising given both countries rank among the top 20 for mismanaged anthropogenic waste (Indonesia ranks 2nd and the USA 20th).”

The researchers added that their results “demonstrate that anthropogenic debris has infiltrated marine foodwebs to the level of humans via seafood.” And because this man-made debris is associated with “a cocktail of priority pollutants, some of which can transfer to animals upon ingestion,” there is substantial cause for concern that chemicals from ocean trash may be transferring to humans, “raising important questions regarding the bioaccumulation and biomagnification of chemicals and consequences for human health.”

While their results were cause for concern, the study authors write that further study is needed to test hypotheses about the link between plastic contamination of seafood and human health — but public health advisories might be necessary to keep seafood lovers safe.

“It is important to understand any hazards associated with how the ghost of waste management past may be haunting us in our own seafood. Future risk assessments should consider anthropogenic debris as another factor for seafood safety advisories relevant for consumers.”

See also:
Bringing Purity Back Into The Seafood Industry
Weekly Musings: Oceans of Love

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

January 19, 2020

This morning’s lunar sextile to pragmatic Saturn rouses many souls into “instant on” mode. Priorities are clear. Get organized. Sort through papers and clutter, repurpose some items, recycle and eliminate others. As the day progresses, practical matters…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

January 2020

Saturday January 18th, 2020 from 10:30-4pm and Sunday January 19th, 2020 from 10:30-4pm In Reiki Master Level you will learn the master symbols, receive the master level attunement and learn how...

Cost: $295 for new students, $195 for the refresher option

Where:
Sohum Yoga and Meditation Studio
30 Lyman Street, Suite 108B
Westborough Shopping Center
Westborough, MA  01581
View map »


Sponsor: www.SOHUM.org
Telephone: 508-329-3338
Contact Name: Ritu Kapur
Website »

More information

Join us and connect to the powerful energies of the bird kingdom. Throughout earth history, birds have been thought to be divine messengers. Many spiritual systems believe they are emissaries of...

Cost: $95

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
386 Merrimack St
Methuen, MA
View map »


Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: front desk
Website »

More information

Your soul has already seeded your existence with all that is needed to completely express your destiny. Let the Miracle Mantra awaken you to the awareness of spirit ever present in your...

Cost: Suggested Donation: $20

Where:
Yoga At The Ashram
368 Village Street
Millis, MA  02054
View map »


Sponsor: Yoga at the Ashram
Telephone: 508-376-4525
Website »

More information

Come shine with us! Join us in harmony and in our goal to bring the light of Spiritualism forward to all those who are searching.

Where:
VFW Post 2597
775 Boston Rd, Rt 3A
Billerica, MA
View map »


Sponsor: The Spiritualist Fellowship Church Of New England
Website »

More information

January 19th, February 16th, March 8th by appointment only. Kinetic Chain Release (KCR) to balance body, resolve leg length discrepancies, reduce back, shoulder, knee, hip pain and reduce stress...

Cost: $65 to $145

Where:
Leapin' Lizards
449 Forest Ave
Portland, ME  04101
View map »


Sponsor: Leapin' Lizards
Telephone: 207-221-2363
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Discover Beauty. Discover Goodness. Discover Yourself. Your soul’s gifts are waiting. Breathe. Find stillness. The spark you need to ignite your life is here, within. Max Meditation...

Cost: $15

Where:
Modern Mystery School Boston
132 Charles St
3rd Floor
Auburndale, MA  02466
View map »


Sponsor: Modern Mystery School Boston
Telephone: 617-694-0994
Contact Name: Jordan Bain
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Total Life Group Cleanse begins with Jonathan Glass, Ayurvedic practitioner Includes the following three Tuesdays. A 28-day program designed to initiate and maximize detoxification and...

Where:
Concord, MA


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
No Events

Are you ready to permanently up-level your life? Are you ready close the gap between where you are today and your higher purpose? Are you ready to take a definitive step toward healing the...

Cost: $15

Where:
Modern Mystery School Boston
132 Charles St
3rd Floor
Auburndale, MA  02466
View map »


Sponsor: Modern Mystery School Boston
Telephone: 617-694-0994
Contact Name: Jordan Bain
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
No Events

January is the time of the year when we look ahead to the year in front of us and imagine it to be better than the one we are leaving behind. We often make the New Years resolution in January and...

Cost: $108 before Jan 20 ($120 after)

Where:
Unity Farm Sanctuary
17 Unity Lane
Westborough Shopping Center
Sherborn, MA  01770
View map »


Sponsor: www.SOHUM.org
Telephone: 508-329-3338
Contact Name: Ritu Kapur
Website »

More information

This is a free and mandatory orientation prior to registering for the 8 week group program of mindfulness based stress reduction or MBSR. Please RSVP so we can plan accordingly....

Cost: Free

Where:
Sohum Yoga and Meditation Studio
30 Lyman Street, Suite 108B
Westborough Shopping Center
Westborough, MA  01581
View map »


Sponsor: www.SOHUM.org
Telephone: 508-329-3338
Contact Name: Ritu Kapur
Website »

More information

This class will teach you how to make your own intricate wire-wrapped gemstone pendant, expanding on the basics from the introductory Level 1 class that has been taught previously. This class if...

Cost: Reg includes supplies $60 per person or $50 more than one

Where:
The Healing Power of Flowers - Heaven and Earth
68 Stiles Rd, Unit A
Our Yellow Banner is in Window w/Fairy Lights Please remove shoes at the door
Salem, NH  03079
View map »


Sponsor: The Healing Power of Flowers - Heaven and Earth
Telephone: 603-275-7688
Contact Name: Stacey
Website »

More information

We will be sitting in the New Moon Energy and The Energy and Consciousness of the Chinese New Year.  Stacey and Bob will be doing an energetic transmission with Energies and Stones...

Cost: Class: $30, Online Reg. $25

Where:
The Healing Power of Flowers - Heaven and Earth
68 Stiles Rd, Unit A
Salem, NH  03079
View map »


Sponsor: The Healing Power of Flowers - Heaven and Earth
Telephone: 603-275-7688
Contact Name: Stacey
Website »

More information

Next Class Starts January 25, 2020 You will learn: How to hypnotize How to use hypnosis to help clients make personal changes How to turn hypnosis into a profitable part-time or...

Where:
, RI


Telephone: 401-374-1890
Website »

More information

January 25–April 26, 2020 Now offered in one day and weekend modules that can be taken individually or consecutively.  Dates and individual class links are listed below. All...

Cost: $1360

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
386 Merrimack Street, #1A
Methuen, MA  01844
View map »


Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags