Chemical Hitchhikers: Great Lakes microplastics may increase risk of PFAS contaminants in food web

Read the full story at Great Lakes Now.

Tiny bits of plastic have been making big news lately for turning up just about everywhere – in our drinking water, food and even in the air we breathe. They are called microplastics, and researchers are only beginning to glimpse their health effects.

Much of the contamination can be chalked up to the fact that we recycle only 9 percent of plastic wastes. The rest — water bottles, pens, shopping bags — can end up in our lakes and rivers, where they are exposed to sunlight and waves that break them down into smaller and smaller bits.

Now a new study in Muskegon Lake, linked to Lake Michigan just north of Grand Rapids, has found that a group of chemicals known as PFAS can stick to microplastic particles in the water. Since fish routinely ingest microplastics, this increases the likelihood that PFAS will make its way into the bodies of fish-eating creatures – including us.

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