A new study led by researchers from the Hull York Medical School and the University of Hull reveals that mussels, oysters and scallops have the highest levels of microplastics among all the seafood.
This new study published recently in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal looked at more than 50 studies between 2014 and 2020 to investigate the levels of microplastic contamination globally in fish and shellfish.
Researchers are trying to understand the health issued humans can have by consuming these fish contaminated with microplastics.
According to Evangelos Danopoulos, a postgraduate student at Hull York Medical School and the study author, though no one fully understands the effect of microplastics on the human body, early research shows that it does harm us.
The current study shows microplastic content was 0-10.5 microplastics per gram (MPs/g) in molluscs, 0.1-8.6 MPs/g in crustaceans, 0-2.9 MPs/g in fish.
Latest data from the study shows China, Australia, Canada, Japan and the US are amongst the largest consumers of molluscs, followed by Europe and the UK. The study found that the molluscs collected from Asian waters were having the highest levels of microplastics.
Evangelos Danopoulos added: “Microplastics have been found in various parts of organisms such as the intestines and the liver. Seafood species like oysters, mussels and scallops are consumed whole whereas in larger fish and mammals only parts are consumed. Therefore, understanding the microplastic contamination of specific body parts, and their consumption by humans, is key.”
The team said more data is needed from all over the world to understand how the issue varies between different oceans, seas and waterways.
Evangelos Danopoulos, Lauren C. Jenner, Maureen Twiddy, Jeanette M. Rotchell. Microplastic Contamination of Seafood Intended for Human Consumption: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2020; 128 (12): 126002 DOI: 10.1289/EHP7171
Press Release: University of York