To say that it comes as a surprise would not be completely true, yet there’s no denying that it’s still a shock. Crosses a line, even. Researchers from Holland have just released findings from a small but disturbing study that found plastics in the blood samples of 80% of survey participants. It’s in the air we breathe, it’s in the snow that falls, it’s in every sample of water that the Ikkatsu Project has ever tested… of course it’s in our blood, too.
Nine or ten years ago, when the sad images of albatross chicks choking to death on marine debris were all over the internets and when news was breaking about microplastics being found in fish samples, I remember hearing one researcher talking about how it might be possible for plastic particles to get small enough to cross between cell walls. I remember her emphasizing that we didn’t know enough yet, but that it could be possible.
And now here we are, with plastic actually coursing through our veins. I know we’re just at the beginning of the pile of studies that are about to get underway that will attempt to quantify the problem but I don’t know how much that even matters, at least at the macro level. There’s plastic in our blood. If that simple fact doesn’t motivate you to revisit life choices, then it’s hard to see if anything will.
Oh, and forget about plastic recycling. Another study just released shows that bottles made with ‘recycled’ plastic leach harmful chemicals at higher levels than bottles made with new material. Turns out it’s bad to begin with and efforts to make it more tolerable actually make it worse. As versatile and useful as plastic may be, it is literally changing who we are from the inside out. It seems like it’s well past time for all of it to be rounded up, melted down and formed into 10-foot cubes of solid polymer, 2-ton blocks that could be stacked one on top of another. All of it, from every country, state, roadside swale and river bank… bring it all in and melt it down, turn it into huge blocks and set them aside in long-term storage. Be done with plastic.
This will not be how it all happens.