Scientists have discovered that various brands of table salt sold in China contain a range of plastic pollution, which might make food unsafe.
The highest proportion of plastic was found in sea salt, according to a paper from researchers at Shanghai’s East China Normal University. But even salt from salt mines, briny lakes, and wells contained significant amounts.
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“Microplastics are a particular threat to organisms due to their small size and their capacity to absorb persistent organic pollutants,” said the report, led by Shi Huahong of the university’s Institute of Estuarine and Coastal Research and peer-reviewed in Environmental Science and Technology.
Shi and his colleagues discovered between 550 and 681 microplastic particles per kilogram of table salt that originated from the ocean, 43 to 364 per kilogram in lake salts, and 7 to 204 per kilogram in rock or well salts. Here is a rather gruesome photograph of their findings: