Nurdle Patrol looks for plastic pellets on the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico and beyond

There’s a knowledge gap on effects of microplastics in North America, study finds

More research is needed to understand its effects on fisheries and humans

The world is becoming increasingly aware of the negative effects of plastics in marine ecosystems. But North America faces a challenge it’s not really familiar with: its understanding of the effects of microplastics on fisheries and humans is less than in other continents, a study showed..

Plastics represent up to 95% of all waste in global oceans and on beaches, and the amount that enters the marine environment grows every year. Plastics never really go away, they just break down into smaller and smaller pieces, until they become what’s known as microplastics. Microplastics have been found in surface water, sediments and in marine organisms, but also in tap water and even in humans. There are warranted fears that microplastics represent a threat to all marine ecosystems as well as human health — and it’s a threat we weren’t aware of until recently.

A group of researchers at Portland State University (PSU), Oregon State University (OSU), and the University of North Carolina-Wilmington (UNC-W) looked at microplastics studies on commercially important fishery species published before March 1, 2019.

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