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  • Christina Thiele
    Centre for Environmental Science, University of Southampton
  • Laura Grange
  • Emily Haggett
    Centre for Environmental Science, University of Southampton
  • Malcolm Hudson
    Centre for Environmental Science, University of Southampton
  • Philippa Hudson
    Bournemouth University
  • Andrea Russell
    School of Chemistry, University of Southampton
  • Lina M. Zapata-Restrepo
    Centre for Environmental Science, University of Southampton
Microplastics are contaminants of emerging concern, not least due to their global presence in marine surface waters. Unsurprisingly, microplastics have been reported in salts harvested from numerous locations. We extracted microplastics from 13 European sea salts through 30% H O digestion and filtration over 5-µm filters. Filters were visually inspected at magnifications to x100. A subsample of potential microplastics was subjected to Raman spectroscopy. Particle mass was estimated, and human dose exposure calculated. After blank corrections, median concentrations were 466 ± 152 microplastics kg ranging from 74 to 1155 items kg . Traditionally harvested salts contained fewer microplastics than most industrially harvested ones (t-test, p < 0.01). Approximately 14 µg of microplastics (< 12 particles) may be absorbed by the human body annually, of which a quarter may derive from a consumer choosing sea salt. We reviewed existing studies, showing that targeting different particle sizes and incomplete filtrations hinder interstudy comparison, indicating the importance of method harmonisation for future studies. Excess salt consumption is detrimental to human health; the hazardousness of ingesting microplastics on the other hand has yet to be shown. A portion of microplastics may enter sea salts through production processes rather than source materials. [Abstract copyright: Copyright © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.]
Original languageEnglish
Article number114782
JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
Early online date17 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2023

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