For those who don’t consume seafood, sea salt is another source of exposure. This is particularly meaningful since sea salt is viewed as a healthy salt.
The aforementioned study of sea salt estimates that consuming the daily recommended amount of salt adds up to 37 MPs per year. Other unlikely sources include honey and beer (5). With all these different sources, it’s easy for these MPs to add up and cause damage.
Which Sea Salt Contains The Most Plastic?
As you may have guessed, the most contaminated salt comes from China. Chinese brands contain on average 681 MPs per kilogram. Other countries had a much smaller contamination rating.
What’s more, the brands tested contained 72 completely different MP-like particles.
- 41.6% were identified as plastic polymers
- 23.6% were pigments that could be former plastics
- 5.50% were non-plastic items
- 29.1% could not be identified
Among the pigments was lead chromate, which is used in yellow plastic. According to the National Health Insitute, lead chromate can “…affect the gastrointestinal tract, liver, kidneys and immune system. This substance is a known human carcinogen and is associated with an increased risk of developing lung cancer and cancer of the sinonasal cavity.” (6)
On the other hand, the 30 plastic polymers include:
- polyethylene terephthalate (plastic bottles and synthetic fibers)
- polyisoprene (rubber and resins)
- polyacrylonitrile (fibers used in bicycles, fishing rods, and more)
- polyamide-6 (nylons)
These chemicals can wreak havoc on your body and liver and contribute towards developing cancer.
Best Sea Salt Options
Although the study did not specify brand names, the did mention the country of origin. They included: Australia, France, Iran, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, and France.
After China, the most contaminated salt originated from Portugal. France, on the other hand, was the only country with a clean sample that contained no MPs.
You can find the full results here.
The researchers involved in the study warn that these plastics pose a serious health risk and should be avoided as much as possible. They also underline the fact that the amount of MPs in oceans worldwide grows each year. In fact, it’s estimated that 10 billion pounds of plastics find their way into oceans yearly (7). If we don’t take measures to stop this trend, by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans (8).
If you’re looking for a better salt option to avoid MPs, look no further than Himalayan salt, which comes from a salt mine in Pakistan rather than from the ocean.