Food & Drink

‘Disturbingly’ high levels of fiberglass discovered in oysters and mussels, new study warns

BIvalves are packing more than just pearls.

High levels of fiberglass have been found inside oysters and mussels for the first time, a new study published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials has revealed.

A new study found high levels of fiberglass have been found inside oysters and mussels for the first time. prakasitlalao – stock.adobe.com

“Our findings show a disturbing level of glass-reinforced plastic contamination in marine life,” Corina Ciocan, lead author of the study and principal lecturer in marine biology from the University of Brighton in the UK, told?Newsweek.

Researchers from the Universities of Portsmouth and Brighton in the UK?collected samples of the edible sea life from Chichester Harbor on the south coast of England.

They discovered that as many as 11,220 glass particles per kilogram in the oysters and 2,740 particles per kilogram in mussels.

The findings were recently published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials. Pineapple studio – stock.adobe.com

“Through their filter feeding they are ingesting huge number of particles they mistake for food,” Ciocan explained.

Fiberglass is a type of plastic material that is made stronger by having little fibers of glass woven into it. The sturdy, glass-reinforced plastic can be found in a wide range of products, including human prosthetics and boats.

However, fiberglass has been found to cause skin, eye and upper respiratory tract irritation in humans and has been compared to asbestos, which can cause a range of lung disorders and an increased risk for certain cancers.

The researchers discovered that as many as 11,220 glass particles per kilogram in the oysters and 2,740 particles per kilogram in mussels. karandaev – stock.adobe.com

The experts noted that it may affect animals’ ability to digest their food, increase inflammation and reduce reproductive health.

“The fiberglass particles can have a powerful impact because they act like splinters,” Ciocan explained. “They enter the soft flesh, the organism is not able to excrete them and they start a process of inflammation potentially leading to other pathologies and even death.”

Fiberglass has been found to cause skin, eye and upper respiratory tract irritation in humans and has been compared to asbestos, which can cause a range of lung disorders and an increased risk for certain cancers. ????????????????????? ?????????????????????? – stock.adobe.com

This recent study is the first time that such high quantities of the pollutant in these filter-feeding species.

Although the fiberglass could come a long list of products, the researchers did record a higher amount of contamination in the oysters and mussels during the winter months noting that more boats and tools undergo maintenance or are abandoned during this time.

“It’s a stark reminder of the hidden dangers in our environment,” Ciocan said.

This work adds to a body of research tracking how the increase of ocean pollution and microplastics are impacting our ecosystem and human bodies.

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