Microplastics in mussels sampled from coastal waters and supermarkets in the United Kingdom

 

Eastern IFCA are aware of the recently published report which has identified the presence of microplastics and other anthropogenic debris in seawater and mussels (Mytilus edulis) from coastal waters of the U.K., as well as samples from supermarket sources.

As a fisheries management and conservation body we would clearly share concerns about the pollution of our seas with microplastics and other anthropogenic debris and would support initiatives to reduce or eliminate such contamination.

The report addresses the issue of human consumption of mussels and consequently some level of microplastic and other anthropogenic debris. We note that it suggests that the levels of microplastics are still quite low and probably lower than the amount that falls onto your dinner from household fibres out of the air during the meal.

The report references another report, which predicts that microplastic ingestion by humans via consumption of mussels is 123 MP particles/y/capita in the UK. It states that by comparison, the risk of plastic ingestion via mussel consumption is minimal when compared to fibre exposure during a meal via dust fallout in a household (13,731–68,415 particles/Y/capita).

The Chief Executive Officer of Eastern IFCA, Julian Gregory, said ‘Clearly we share concerns about the pollution of our seas and would support any initiatives to reduce this. Regarding the recently published report concerning microplastics and other debris in mussels we note that the level of contamination in the human food chain appears to be significantly less than that which would fall onto a meal in household dust. With that in mind there does not appear to be any immediate cause for concern from a fisheries perspective but further research and action to reduce levels of pollution would be welcomed.’

Note for Editors

The original report referred to is Jiana Li, Christopher Green, Alan Reynolds, Huahong Shi, Jeanette M. Rotchell. 2018. Microplastics in mussels sampled from coastal waters and supermarkets in the United Kingdom

The second report referred to is Catarino, A.I., Macchia, V., Sanderson, W.G., Thompson, R.C., Henry, T.B., 2018. Low levels of microplastics (MP) in wild mussels indicate that MP ingestion by humans is minimal compared to exposure via household fibres fallout during a meal. Environ. Pollut. 237, 675e-684.

 

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