How We Eat, Drink and Breathe Microplastics

The average person eats, drinks and breathes between 74,000 and 121,000 microplastic particles every year – and that is considered an underestimate. New research entitled ‘Human Consumption of Microplastics‘ by Cox et al. published in Environmental Science & Technology this week presents an analysis of 26 studies from around the world and calculates the average amount of microplastics found in common consumables.

As our infographic shows, the biggest known source of microplastic which enters our bodies is bottled water. Based on 4 separate studies, the average number of particles per liter is 94. Beer has the second highest number, at 32, but it is that in third place which may cause the most alarm. Air inhaled by humans, based on two studies conducted in France and Turkey, contains an average of 9.80 particles per m³. For reference, the EPA’s Exposure Factors Handbook says that a 31-51 year old inhales an average of 16 m³ per day.

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