Plastic is a remarkable substance. It can be formed into any shape, never degrades, is strong, pliable, lightweight and cheap to produce. The same qualities that make plastic so useful, however, also make it an ecological nightmare. Of the 7.1 billion tons of plastic ever produced by human beings, at least 5 billion tons of it is still around, gradually getting ground down into smaller and smaller bits, but never really disappearing.
Massive garbage patches of floating plastic debris cover huge swaths of the Pacific Ocean, and plastics have been found in the bellies of all manner of sea creatures. Now, a report in the open access online journal PLOS, shows that human beings are ingesting a growing number of small plastic particles, in our water, our food, and yes, even in our beer.
Mary Kosuth, professor of environmental science at Dunwoody College, conducted the research, and she joins Eight O’Clock Buzz host Brian Standing by phone from Minneapolis.