“Currently, the diet of Mexicans includes microplastics, particles contained in different foods of animal origin, which in the case of the Yucatan Peninsula comes mostly in chicken”, declared specialist Esperanza Huerta Lwanga, who warned that this represents a serious public health problem.
She defined microplastic as plastic particles less than five millimeters in diameter, which are found as contaminants in soils around the world, and of course Mexico is no exception.
“Because they are so small, they are difficult to detect and animals that feed on vegetation, seeds or microorganisms in the soil tend to ingest them all the time,” said the researcher from the Department of Agriculture, Society and Environment of El Colegio de la Frontera Sur : Ecosur).
“Microplastics accumulate inside the body of animals, and so these harmful particles enter the food chain, where they can pass from animal to animal until they reach the plate at someone’s dinner table”, Huerta Lwanga continued.
She mentioned that in the study conducted in Maya homes across Southeast Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula, the presence of microplastics was detected in earthworms’ excretions. As well as in the excrement of chickens for human consumption, both these microparticles and even plastic particles larger than five millimeters were found.
Huerta Lwanga estimated that Mexicans could consume, on average, 840 particles of microplastics per year, which can represent a public health problem.
“The microplastics pollute the soil and how they can reach the food that is part of the diet of Mexicans, and that is how an environmental deficiency becomes a public health problem,” she stated.
The researcher explained that microplastics reach the ground mainly for three reasons:
First, due to the improper handling of waste and the burning of garbage.
In second place due to agricultural use of plastic mulches, which are huge blankets that cover crops from which small particles are released, and so these microscopic polymers accumulate in the soil.
And finally for the use of wastewater for irrigation, since the filtration processes of these do not manage to remove microplastics.
TYT Newsroom with information from yucatanahora.mx