The kind of news one would hope was a rather dubious April Fools’ joke came today in the revelation that three brands of salt sold in Portugal contain particles of microplastics – which, absorbed by the human body over time “can cause health problems”.
“That is why we call them microbombs”, investigator Ali Karami told Público, declining however to identify the brands.
To further confuse the issue, the paper says “there is no motive for alarm” as the “danger is not very elevated, due to the reduced size of the particles”.
Picking the story up, Expresso opens with the observation that “along with salt, we are also seasoning our food with microplastics”.
Apparently, of the 17 brands of salt sold in eight countries, including Portugal, the majority have been found “contaminated, but with low doses”..
Principal author of the report published today in specialist magazine Scientific Reports
Karami explains: “Microplastics can release pollutants in our system that over a long period of time can provoke health problems”.
But before anyone starts rethinking their salt intake, Karami warns that “microbombs” are in “many other products that come from the sea”.
Of the 72 particles extracted from the salt: 41.6% had polymer plastics, 23.6% had pigments (“associated with additives placed in plastics”), 29.1% had properties that “have yet to be identified” and 5.5% were carbon free.
For better or worse, that is where Expresso’s information ends.
Público’s however ‘rubs salt into the wounds’ by explaining that honey and beer are other ‘no-no’s’ when it comes to ‘microbombs’.
But Karami is sanguine: “Studies in microplastics are at a very early stage”, he told the paper. “We still don’t know how many products are contaminated with microplastics, but we believe that the majority of products that come from the sea probably are. For this reason, microplastics in salt will simply be a minuscule part of the orchestra”.