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You Will Eat Two Recycling Bins of Plastic in Your Lifetime

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

humans plastic ingestion

Story at-a-glance -

  • The average person eats about 5 grams of plastic per week — about the amount found in one credit card
  • Drinking water is the greatest contributor to plastic ingestion for humans, and plastic particles were found in groundwater, surface water, tap water and bottled water throughout the world
  • Shellfish represent another notable source of plastic exposure, contributing up to 0.5 grams a week
  • Based on an average human life span of 79 years, the average person will consume 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of plastic, which is the same weight as two full-sized plastic recycling bins

Tiny bits of plastic about the size of a sesame seed or smaller are everywhere. News headlines often show intact plastic bags, rings and bottles as the primary threats to the environment — and these are indeed harmful to marine life and more — but the smaller, more insidious plastic bits may be even more harmful.

These microplastics, as they're known, are smaller than 5 millimeters (mm), and found in a number of commonly consumed foods and beverages.

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