In an article published on November 15, 2015 by the non-profit organization Society for Science & the Public (SSP), journalist Ashley Yeager reports on a new study showing microplastics in sea sourced salts in China. The study was conducted by researchers Dongqi Yang and colleagues from the East China Normal University and Donghua University, Shanghai, China, and published on October 20, 2015 in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science & Technology. The researchers analyzed 15 brands of sea salts, lake salts, and rock/well salts bought in supermarkets throughout China. They found microplastics in all types of salts, with sea salts having the highest plastic content of 550-681 particles/kg. In sea salts, fragments and fibers were the most prevalent types of particles and most common materials were polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polyethylene (PE), and cellophane. The researchers estimate that people could consume about 1,000 microplastic particles per year from sea salt, Yeager writes. Further, the researchers were surprised to find microplastics in rock salts, as these salts were formed by ancient seas before plastic pollution. This result suggests that plastic contamination of the tested salts might have additional sources e.g. from mining, milling, or packaging, Yeager explains.
Ashley Yeager (November 15, 2015). “Table salt and shellfish can contain plastic.” Society for Science & the Public
Sarah Everts (October 28, 2015). “Tiny bits of plastic found in table salt in China.” Chemical & Engineering News
Yang, D. et al. (2015). “Microplastic pollution in table salts from China.” Environmental Science & Technology