Addressing concerns about exposure to microplastics

This study adds to existing literature about the scope and influence of microplastics, but more work needs to be done to fully understand the effects.

In the meantime, there are a few ways to reduce your risk of exposure to these substances.

For instance, recent evidence suggests that boiling water and pouring it through a coffee filter may help eliminate many of the microplastics found in water. If research continues to confirm these findings, this could become a more common practice.

Leslie proposed additional suggestions for reducing your risk of microplastics exposure:

  • choose plastic-free clothing and other goods
  • opt for whole, minimally processed foods
  • drinking filtered water

“At this point I think we’re in need of a clear intention to take responsibility for ourselves, and act in accordance with our individual unwillingness to be polluted by microplastics. This translates into decisions we make when we’re buying anything that’s shedding plastic particles on us that we do not need or want,” Leslie said.

“It’s about taking small steps to design these things into your life and you’ll start to feel a shift. It’s fun to experiment with saying ‘no’ if it’s something you previously believed you were obliged to own,” Leslie added.

Non-study author Tracey Woodruff, PhD, professor and director with Environmental Research and Translation for Health (EaRTH) Center at the University of California, San Francisco, told MNT the current evidence shows that policy makers must act as soon as possible to prevent human exposure to microplastics from increasing further.

“We know that plastic production is expected to grow rapidly in the next decade and that is going to mean more microplastics. Government actions are the most equitable and efficient way to ensure people [do] not get exposed. In the meantime, people can limit their use of plastics, and can switch to glass/ceramic and metal containers for water and storage containers. Also actions like washing hands and wet mop and heap filter vacuums keeps dust exposures down where MPs [microplastics] and other chemicals like to congregate.”

– Tracey Woodruff, PhD, environmental research professor