Sea salt found to be contaminated with microplastics, one brand tested clean
(NaturalHealth365) Sea salt is viewed by many as a healthier alternative to refined table salt. But, a recent study on common brands of sea salt from around the world has revealed that the vast majority contain microplastics.
Microplastics, tiny fragments of petrochemicals less than 5 millimeters long, originate from packaging materials, detergents, cosmetic and clothing – and are now showing up in seawater, freshwater lakes, aquatic life and even humans. Why is this an issue? Some evidence suggests that these tiny particles can act as hormone disruptors and carcinogens.
Editor’s note: 90% of all sea salt is contaminated with microplastics. But, there’s ONE brand we’ve found to be tested 100% free of microplastics. This is the sea salt I personally use. (my family loves it!) Click here to learn more.
Warning: Microplastics have become a global health concern
Experts say that the use of plastics has soared over the past 50 years, with total global output skyrocketing from 30 million tons in 1970 to 322 million tons in 2015.
Microplastics are currently found in marine environments all over the world, from tropical lagoons to Arctic shorelines – in waters as diverse as the Celtic sea, the Atlantic Ocean, the Laurentian Great Lakes, the Pacific Ocean and the Persian Gulf.
Unsurprisingly, microplastics have been found in drinking water all over the globe.
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A 2014 review published in PLoS One concluded that the number of plastic particles floating in the sea topped a staggering 5 trillion – with a combined weight of over a quarter of a million tons. In fact, five years down the road, the statistics have doubtless worsened.
Salt, which is produced through the evaporation of seawater, can’t help but reflect levels of microplastics. Unsurprisingly, the higher the level of plastic garbage in a particular ocean, the more likely that its waters will yield salt contaminated with microplastics.
But, you may wonder: can’t this be avoided through proper recycling of plastic? Despite the common perception that plastics are being efficiently recycled these days, the truth is: most are not recycled.
In fact, recycling rates in the U.S. hover as low as 8.8 percent.
Study: Microplastics exist in a shocking 90 percent of common table salt brands worldwide
The new study, conducted jointly by researchers at Incheon National University in South Korea and Greenpeace East Asia, analyzed 39 sea salt brands from 21 different countries in Europe, North America, South America and Asia.
The results, which were published in Environmental Science and Technology, showed that 36 of the brands contained microplastics.
The scientists did not identify specific brands in the study, but noted that varieties originating in Asia were particularly high in microplastics. The contamination was especially pronounced in Indonesia, which scientists say suffers the second-worst level of plastic pollution on the planet, second only to China.
Not surprisingly, the international team of experts urgently called for more studies to monitor microplastic contamination. And, environmental experts – many of whom have become increasingly concerned over this issue – called the study “more evidence of the frightening proliferation of plastic pollution.”
For a summary of microplastic levels in sea salt listed by geographical areas, click here.
Scientists report: Microplastics absorb and release a variety of POPs – persistent organic pollutants
There are literally thousands of different types and sizes of microplastics, including microbeads, fibers and fragments – and the average adult consumes roughly 2,000 of them a year.
This diversity makes study and comparison difficult, and little is currently known about the adverse effects on human health and the environment. But scientists are clearly worried, especially given the ability of microplastics to absorb and release pollutants.
According to a review published in PLoS One, plastic particles are a “medium for the transport of toxic chemicals in marine environments.”
These toxic chemicals include synthetic additives such as bisphenol A and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which are classified as probable carcinogens. There is evidence that some of these toxins can be released in the guts of animals.
And phthalates – chemical compounds added to plastics to add flexibility – have been shown in animal studies to disrupt the endocrine, hormone system and reproductive systems. Microplastic fragments have also been shown to cause adverse effects to organisms through causing microinjuries.
Recent studies have shown that polystyrene microspheres and microbeads can accumulate in the gills and guts of zebrafish. These diminutive fish are used extensively in medical research, as they share a surprising 70 percent of genes with humans.
In fact, 84 percent of genes associated with human disease have a zebrafish component.
Surely, the accumulation of synthetic polymers in sea water and in marine life doesn’t bode well for humans. Keep in mind, people can ingest microplastics through consuming seafood and shellfish.
Opt for sea salt that is 100 percent free of microplastics
Many natural health experts recommend Colima Sea Salt by Ava Jane’s Kitchen. An unrefined, all-natural handmade sea salt, this brand has been laboratory tested and is free of microplastics and anti-caking materials (such as aluminum silicate).
In addition, this healthy salt contains 80 essential minerals, including potassium, calcium, iron and manganese. It’s particularly rich in magnesium, essential for regulating heartbeat and maintaining healthy bones.
Note: Although mainstream medical authorities claim that salt can raise blood sugar, many natural health experts question this, saying the evidence is not strong. In fact, a certain amount of salt is needed for heart health, and low-sodium diets have been linked with increased risk of cardiovascular-related deaths.
And a recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that higher sodium diets are not associated with elevated blood pressure. So, when all is said and done: using 100% natural sea salt in moderate amounts – and selecting a brand free of contaminants – is a sensible decision.
Editor’s note: 90% of all sea salt is contaminated with microplastics. But, there’s ONE brand we’ve found to be tested 100% free of microplastics. This is the sea salt I personally use. (my family loves it!)
And, yes, your purchase helps to support our operations – at no extra cost to you. Click here to order today!
Sources for this article include: