A ground-breaking report commissioned by the WWF and carried out by the University of Newcastle has found humans are ingesting 2000 pieces of micro-plastic every week.
This equates to 5 grams a week – approximately one credit card.
To get to this figure, the researchers reviewed over 50 studies of microplastics in our environment.
Surprisingly, most of the plastic humans consume is from water (bottled and tap), although there is also plastic in air and food.
Dr Thava Palanismi, the report’s head researcher, expressed concerns about the health impact consuming plastic has on humans:
“Direct evidence is not yet known but the associated chemicals are already known to cause carcinogenic impact and endocrine-disturbing behaviour,” he said.
Other experts confirmed the study did not look into how this affects our bodies.
Professor of Ecology at the University of East Anglia (UEA) Alastair Grant said:
“The report does not present evidence that consuming even the highest figure (which represents approximately 250 particles a day) presents a risk to human health.”
While the impact plastic waste has had on the environment has been known for quite some time, researchers hope shedding light onto how plastics affect us personally will spur businesses and governments into taking action.
Currently, WWF-Australia states that 8 million tonnes of plastic pollution winds up in our oceans every single year.
Marco Lambertini, WWF International Director General said: “Of we don’t want plastic in our bodies, we need to stop the millions of tons of plastic that continue leaking into nature every year.