A research published by University of Hull and Hull York Medical School has found that molluscs have the highest level of microplastics among seafoods.
The most heavily contaminated molluscs were the ones collected from the sea coast in Asia, reported ANI.
For research purposes, the researchers observed more than 50 studies which were conducted between 2014 and 2020. As per the latest study, the microplastic content found in molluscs was 0-10.5 microplastics per gram (MPs/g) and in crustaceans, it was around 0.1-8.6 MPs/g.
The least amount of microplastics was found in fish with 0-2.9 MPs/g. These microplastics get into water bodies with fishes and other sea creatures through waste management.
The countries that consume the largest amount of molluscs are China, Australia, Canada, Japan and the US. It is also consumed largely in countries like Europe and the UK. Those involved with the study also believe that more data is required to study the effect on sea animals living in different water bodies, such as oceans and seas.
However, the complete impact of this research is still not known because researchers are trying to figure out the effects on the health of people consuming shellfish and fishes.
Commenting on their discovery, Evangelos Danopoulo, author of the study, said that the early evidence from other studies suggest that they do cause harm. However, the full impact of these microplastics on the human body is not yet understood.
He further said that the important thing in understanding the impact on the human body is determining the level of microplastics that humans are consuming. He said, “We can start to do this by looking at how much seafood and fish is eaten and measuring the amount of MPs in these creatures.”
Evangelos added that when specific parts of an organism are consumed, then understanding the microplastic contamination of these parts is the key. It is also, however, needed that a standardised measure of measuring microplastic contamination is introduced which can compare different measurements more readily.
The researcher said that mostly, microplastics are found in body parts such as the intestines and the liver. Seafood like mussels, scallops and oysters are consumed whole. It is expected that the waste plastic generation will triple by 2060 to 155-265 million metric tonnes per year.
In May 2020, scientists had found 1.9 million plastic pieces per square metre in the sediments from the bottom of the ocean floor of the Tyrrhenian Sea.