Impact of microplastics on soil and produce

Our soil is full of organisms which help keep it rich and fertile, such as roundworms or mites. However, these organisms are being endangered by increasing concentration of microplastics in soil – a recent study found that the more microplastics there are in soil, the lower is the concentration of these crucial organisms. A higher concentration of microplastics also seems to clog the soil pores, preventing its aeration, decreasing the vital nutrient supply to plants’ roots.

Another recent study has disproved the assumption that microplastics cannot pass from soil into plant tissue. Microplastic presence has been detected in supermarket-bought fruits and vegetables, including carrots, lettuce, broccoli, apples, potatoes, and pears. Since microplastics are entering produce, they are not only being consumed by us but also animals farmed for meat and other animal products. While the study of microplastic effects on the body is yet limited, some evidence shows that they can pass through cell walls and accumulate in organs.

Lastly, what makes microplastic presence in produce even more alarming is their ability to tie particles known to be harmful to human health to themselves. Cadmium, lead, PCBs and pesticides have all been shown to tie themselves to microplastic particles.