Podcast On Microplastic: Do We Really Inhale A Credit Card Worth Of Plastic Every Week? ♻️ Podcast Ep. 43 Don’t Be A Waster



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Transcript: Podcast On Microplastic


Hello and welcome to another edition of everyone’s favorite podcast! I’d actually like to say a podcast, but I believe Harry and Megan have claimed that that title. So, we’re going to say your favourite recycling or environmental podcast, which, you know, maybe is slightly less of an exaggeration.

In today’s episode, we are going to cover basically a news article I read this week that was sort of shocking and that said that the average human… I think, we’ll get into where the… this average person lives etc. But the average human inhales… breathes in roughly the equivalent of a credit card’s worth of microplastics every single week.


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This was an article, I think, originally published in the scientific academic Journal: Physics of Fluids, and it says that I’m actually quoting a much less salubrious Journal, Journal… Yahoo News Australian version and it states that humans might be inhaling 16.2 bits of toxic microplastics every hour, said to be the equivalent of inhaling an entire credit card over a week.


Act 2: Podcast On Microplastic


The findings that were published warned that the tiny plastics can cause significant health issues. Look, I think we’ve covered different things about microplastics on numerous episodes, but at the same time, we’ve also covered other things such as plastic roads using plastic rubbish from building blocks and different things. And I suppose this article has a couple of impacts on both of those.


I think it reinforces that, you know, microplastics are not a good thing and we want to, you know, reduce them or not have them at all. And secondly, it probably says that using plastic for items such as roads, building blocks, you know, may not be Monopoly genius either, you know, due to… clearly, we’re preventing going to landfill, but maybe, we’re creating another… just kicking account down the road and creating further problems such as the friction on a road, creating microplastics with the environment.


And you know, we might be creating a bigger problem than we initially thought. So you know, this is the idea of microplastics, whereby… well clearly, we’re not breathing in credit cards in one go. We are breathing in tiny, tiny imperceptibly small piece of plastic called microplastics. And they are tiny plastic particles classes less than five millimetres, you know, in length or width, and they’re mostly caused by the breakdown of larger pieces of plastic.


Act 3: Podcast On Microplastic


As we know, plastic breaks through friction: wear and tear etc. I mean these tiny little pieces is what we get. And of course, that’s what you get also in the oceans, whereby… You know, we’ve read a lot of nearly… all sea life absorbs it; heats, plastic and it’s that breakdown in the environment over time. But I suppose why is this… what is the real issues of these? And I suppose, the health issues of this problem are, to some extent, twofold.


There are, you know, one… Let’s be honest, I think we’ve all heard about why asbestos is really bad for you, and especially it’s not a plastic. But, you know, you ask yourself, “Why is asbestos… What’s wrong with it?” and the problem with it is it, you know… small pieces of it went specific… specifically builders, tradies etc. years gone by, and also people who worked in the mining industry for asbestos, and of course, that famous town that’s not on any maps anymore.


I think it’s in WA. Or, by your breathing in that asbestos dust, it gets into your lungs, and once it’s in there, it doesn’t go away and it basically then will cause little infections or cysts or whatever it is. Don’t quote me in the medical aspect. But in the lungs, it remains there and causes asbestosis. There’s other issues we’re hearing about now through these modern kitchen tops. People call it the “modern asbestos” whereby tradies or grinding or cutting this sort of modern kitchen tops, and it’s creating a similar issue.


Act 4: Podcast On Microplastic


So to my mind, this could be a similar problem with the microplastics in the air and people breathing them in. And the issue is it’s not just treaties or miners or people, you know, in industry exposed. It’s you, it’s everyone, it’s city to workers, it’s office workers, it’s kids, it’s every single person on the planet.


The other serious point, of course, is that we’re starting to realize that plastics, certain types of plastics and other chemical constituents, in particular bisphenols and phthalates, are known and proven nowadays to disrupt hormones and are linked to cancer, infertility and early puberty. I think we covered in a previous episode the book Countdown by, I think, it was Dr Swann, I think, what… was the name who appeared on a very popular Joe Rogan podcast episode and where she talked about phthalates and how they significantly impact fertility.


So I think a lot of people are becoming sort of become aware of dropping fertility rates, not just in the developed world, but globally. And you know, we’re starting to look into why… what might be causing this. So here, we’re going to quote from the article. It says millions of tonnes of these microplastic particles have been found in water air and soil. Global microplastic production is surging and the density of microplastics in the air is increasing significantly. Pretty scary stuff, to be honest.


Act 5: Podcast On Microplastic


So other aspects of the story that, you know, it’s pretty bad news. I’ll be honest, satisfying that an increased flow rate let less deposition and the largest microplastics about 5.56 microns in size are deposited in the airways more often than their smaller counterparts. The real highlight… the real concern of exposure and inhalation was among people living in areas with high levels of plastic pollution or industrial activity. And we are not sure as to the long term: like what this will do to us; what the long-term impact is.


And I don’t think anyone can tell you. So… and I think this is one of these things whereby… watch the space. I think it’s something that we will become aware of. What are… the… one of the big problems about human nature is we do things before we look. Obviously, you can narrow… fully forecast all the impacts that things would have specifically with new technologies, new, you know, materials etc. But, I think certainly, in the last couple of years, you know, the stories were in plastic are becoming particularly negative, you know healthy repercussions.


The microplastic issue that realistically that we weren’t really aware of on a, you know… The probably saddest where, but the average person… the average, you know, person listening to this podcast… probably wasn’t 10 years ago. We weren’t aware of this stuff so I think this is one for us to keep an eye on. And look, I think it’s just another, shall we say, “nail in the coffin” of plastic, you know, I think.


Final Thoughts: Podcast On Microplastic


And that we’re in Australia today. It’s uh June 21st of June 2023. And thankfully, you know, single-use plastic bags are pretty much phased out in most of the country. And I think that’s a great thing because the more we can, you know, reduce that plastic usage over time… It’s almost like weaning yourself. We have to wean ourselves off plastic usage, and it will not be easy. There will be, you know… People will complain that it’s not as easy to, you know, to use paper or whatever it is, or, you know, material like cotton etc. to carry things in.


But like over time I think we really have to put in that bit of effort. So yeah, look, I think this is one word. It’s watching the space. We don’t have a conclusion for you today, but I think let’s keep an eye on this. And we… I’m sure we’ll update this in the future. So again, Recycle: Don’t be a Waster!


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