Article Publish Status: FREE
Abstract Title:

Microplastic contamination of table salts from Taiwan, including a global review.

Abstract Source:

Sci Rep. 2019 Jul 12 ;9(1):10145. Epub 2019 Jul 12. PMID: 31300670

Abstract Author(s):

Hyemi Lee, Alexander Kunz, Won Joon Shim, Bruno A Walther

Article Affiliation:

Hyemi Lee


Plastic pollution is a rapidly worsening environmental problem, especially in oceanic habitats. Environmental pollution with microplastic particles is also causing food consumed by humans to be increasingly polluted, including table salts. Therefore, we present the first study which focuses only on table salt products purchased in Taiwan which we examined for the presence of microplastics. We used Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy to identify the polymer type of each particle. Within 4.4 kg of salt, we detected 43 microplastic particles which averages to 9.77 microplastic particles/kg. The identified polymer types were, in descending abundance, polypropylene, polyethylene, polystyrene, polyester, polyetherimide, polyethylene terephthalate, and polyoxymethylene. We combined our novel results with those of previous studies to provide the first global review of microplastic contamination of table salts. We found that 94% of salt products tested worldwide contained microplastics, with 3 out of 27 polymer types (polyethylene terephthalate, polypropylene, polyethylene) accountingfor the majority of all particles. Averaging over seven separate studies, table salts contain a mean of 140.2 microplastic particles/kg. With a mean annual salt consumption of ~3.75 kg/year, humans therefore annually ingest several hundred microplastic particles from salt alone.

Study Type : Review

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