But Peijnenburg still thinks this is an exaggeration. In the end it ends with people. This can be done directly, if you eat lettuce, but it can also be done indirectly through other animals. Moreover, there is more plastic on the plants. In agriculture, crops are covered with a large canvas. The plastic particles fall off like breadcrumbs and end up on the lettuce.
Plastic itself is not toxic, he says, “otherwise we would have noticed it a long time ago.” The main problem is that it is hardly biodegradable. “I don’t know if it’s really that bad,” Peijnenburg says. “But you take a risk anyway. You can’t predict what will happen in the long run if your body is full of plastic.
He compares it to PFAS. Fifty years ago, we used it everywhere. She was in clothes, pans, fire extinguishers, you name it. It later turned out that this material is as toxic and persistent as plastic. Now some construction projects cannot go ahead, because the land is full of PFAS that never goes away.
He believes it is time for more research. How much is there in the environment, and how harmful is it to humans?
Our new method is promising, but our research is a simplification. We only looked at one type of plastic, even though it comes in thousands of shapes.
At the same time, more research into good alternatives is needed. Suppose you want to replace plastic bags, then you can opt for linen bags. But it is very polluted. You have to reuse it a thousand times to make up for this contamination.
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