What is microplastic and why do we eat a credit card every week?

What is microplastic

The development of our civilization carries so far unknown threats. The ubiquitous plastic, which was created to make our lives easier, begins to threaten us in a rather uncontrolled way.

Plastic floating in the oceans, deposited in landfills or found in the stomachs of whales is a problem that seems distant to us - separated by a glass screen, we do not feel this problem in a direct way. Just like the greenhouse effect - downplayed until many people experience record heat or climate anomalies. However, the ubiquitous plastic appeared in human life in a new and uncontrolled way. We inhale it, eat it and drink it with water. How it's possible? The answer is microplastic.


You can watch a movie about this phenomenon here: MOVIE

This relatively new concept is not yet fully defined as it has not been fully explored. Currently, it is assumed that these are pieces of plastic smaller than 5 mm, however, they can even measure less than 0.1 µm. The smaller fragments are then called nano plastic.

The source of micro and nano plastic

The source of these plastic particles is the constantly increasing amount of waste produced by humanity and the increasing pollution of the environment. A huge amount of plastic garbage floating in the seas and oceans is fragmented by natural phenomena, but to a large extent it is not biodegradable. As a result, there is a phenomenon of the presence of a suspension made of micro-plastic in the water, which affects the entire ecosystem. It settles on coral reefs and is absorbed by all aquatic organisms - including fish that we later eat.


At the moment, not all properties of plastic particles are known. Recent findings from researching rainwater in the Rocky Mountains and the Pyrenees indicate that the particles are small enough to float in the air. Their presence was detected at an altitude of 1,400 m and up to 100 km from areas frequented by people. This indicates that particles can be transported over great distances.

Moving in the air, they have become part of our environment, and falling with the rain they settle on crops and end up in groundwater. In addition, microplastics from the production or use of plastic end up in wastewater. For example, during one wash of fabrics made of acrylic fibers, up to 730 thousand. micro plastic fibers that end up in the sewage.


Water treatment processes used by sewage treatment plants do not remove the finest particles, making tap water the main source of plastic consumed by people. Even worse is the situation with bottled water, which can even double the amount absorbed.

By adding food-derived plastic, exposure to this type of contamination is high. According to current research, on average, every person in the world eats more than 5 grams of plastic per week (!), Which is equivalent to a typical credit card.


Research conducted in the United States indicates that Americans consume 74,000 or more depending on gender and age. up to 121 thous. pieces of microplastic. Drinking bottled water increased the amount of absorbed particles by 90,000. particles per year compared with people who drink tap water.

Currently, a small number of studies are carried out for the presence of plastic in the environment or in food. In addition, the detection of the smallest particles is difficult, their detectability is limited, so our exposure to this type of contamination may be much greater. They also don't take into account the micro and nano plastics we inhale. As the particles can be smaller than 1 µm, they pose a hitherto unknown danger. In order to compare the hazards resulting from the inhalation of plastic particles, suspended PM2.5 dust is considered to be harmful to health, the size of which does not exceed 2.5 μm. Such small objects can float in the air, enter the body through the respiratory tract, get into the bloodstream, accumulate in cells, causing inflammation or negatively affect the immune system. Microplastic is not biodegradable and the human body may not be able to get rid of the accumulated particles. Additionally, plastic can be toxic. It is also not known how small the particles may be or what their final effect on health is, as not enough research has been done on this matter.


Unfortunately, we are most exposed to microplastics inside our own home. It disintegrates under the influence of friction, temperature or sunlight. It can come from everyday objects - not only plastic bags, packaging, bottles, toys or clothes and textiles, but it is present in many places that we do not expect. These can be toothpaste, cosmetics, but also paints and building materials. Some of these particles are "designed" to fulfill their role in products such as peeling granules to exfoliate the epidermis.


The new face of plastic has become a fact. It is an unknown health threat, and its amount in our environment, especially in the air, will increase. Initiatives to recycle plastic from the circulation, improve recycling processes and develop methods for removing it from the ecosystem are key, but these are long-term efforts. Each of us can contribute to improving the situation by choosing reusable bags, buying clothes made of natural fibers or limiting the purchase of water in plastic bottles.

In order to protect ourselves against inhaling air contaminated with plastic, we can use appropriate quality anti pollution masks and scarves that meet at least the N95 or N99 standards, which will allow us to retain even 0.1 μm plastic particles. This will protect us from outdoor air pollution. However, inside buildings, it is worth considering buying an air purifier that will improve the quality of the air inside.


If you are looking for a mask that can protect you from microplastics in the air, as well as other volatile pollutants, see our masks and scarves with N95 / FFP2 filters.

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