The Growing Threat: Microplastics in Fish We Eat

I’ve always been a seafood enthusiast. I love the taste, the variety, and the nutritional goodness it brings to the table. I was really surprised when I found out that with each serving of mussels, I could be chowing down on about 90 minuscule plastic particles. Oysters, a bit cleaner but not completely off the hook, might carry around 50. And this isn’t just an isolated issue—European shellfish consumers could be unintentionally downing a whopping 11,000 microplastics a year. 

I used to think certain seafood might be spared from this plastic invasion. Take sardines, for instance. But a recent study shattered that hope, revealing microplastics in about one in every five canned sardine brands across 13 different countries. It’s not just about these tiny particles hanging out in the gut; they sneak their way into the fish's flesh, possibly releasing all sorts of absorbed pollutants and chemical additives.

Even when the fish is gutted, it doesn’t necessarily eliminate the risk of ingesting microplastics. In fact, the flesh sometimes contains even more of these pesky particles than the removed organs. It’s like these minuscule troublemakers find a way to infiltrate every part of the fish we eat.

And it’s not just the plastic itself; it’s the pollutants and chemical additives they carry that really worry me. Think hormone disruption, increased cancer risks, and DNA damage. Scary stuff, especially when you think about vulnerable groups like pregnant women and kids unknowingly exposed to these risks through regular fish consumption. Fish oil for example.

Studies in the US showed that man-made debris, including microplastics, have seeped into a quarter of individual fish and two-thirds of all fish species tested. It begs the question: are these microplastics transferring harmful chemicals to us through seafood?

I’m writing this not just to share what I've learned but also to highlight the urgency. We need to identify, control, and wipe out the sources of these microplastics before they wreak havoc on our oceans and, by extension, our bodies.

This isn’t just about skipping seafood dinners; it’s about demanding change. Change that prioritizes our health and the health of our planet. Let's advocate for initiatives that steer us away from a future where our seafood comes with a side of hidden dangers.

Because, honestly, I’d love to enjoy that ocean-side dinner without wondering about the threats in my meal.