A recent study published in the journal Environmental Research has revealed that microplastics are absorbed in the fruits and vegetables we consume. According to the study, scientists have discovered that some of the most commonly consumed produce, including apples, carrots, pineapples, kale and cabbage, may be contaminated with high levels of plastic.

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The study found that apples and carrots are among the most contaminated fruits and vegetables. This new revelation is a cause for concern, considering that these are vital parts of the food chain. Doctors often recommend eating plenty of fruits and vegetables to boost the body’s immune system. However, the abundance of microplastics in such foods could erode their benefits and lead to more health complications.

Related: One plastic teabag can release billions of microplastics into your cup

The research publication highlighted the daily intake of plastic as being worrying for both children and adults. Although the amount of plastic consumed from fruits was found to be less compared to that in bottled water, there is still cause for concern.

According to another study published in the journal Nature Sustainability, microplastics can be absorbed by the roots of lettuce. Once the microplastics are absorbed, they are transported to edible parts of the crops through the internal water and food transport systems.

Several lobby groups are calling for more information about microplastics’ affect on the human body. According to Plastic Soup Foundation’s founder Maria Westerbos, the company has been raising concerns about the presence of microplastic in fish and other marine animals. The foundation is now concerned about the presence of plastic in produce and speculates that there could be microplastics in our meat products.

“For years we have known about plastic in crustaceans and fish, but this is the first time we have known about plastic getting into vegetables,” Westerbos said. “If it is getting into vegetables, it is getting into everything that eats vegetables as well which means it is in our meat and dairy as well.”

Studies are now underway to determine the effects of consuming too many microplastics per day in our bodies.

+ Environmental Research

Images via Hans Braxmeier