East China Normal University conducted a study that evaluated fifteen brands of table salt found in Chinese supermarkets and found micro particles of plastic interspersed inside the samples. The study was found in Scientific American and found the common water bottle plastic polyethylene terephthalate in addition to polyethylene, cellophane and a wide variety of other plastics.
The worst contamination came from salt sourced from the ocean that contained 250 plastic particles per pound. The other sources the salt was sourced from included briny lakes, wells, and mines and contained a contamination of anywhere from three to 165 plastic particles per pound.
According to the researchers, the culprit is the abundance of plastic pollution that abounds in marine areas where salt is sourced. The plastic particles come from bigger objects such as water bottles as well as cosmetic products that use plastic beads as an exfoliants. They said the plastic contaminants could also have entered the samples through the production process as the salt made its way to supermarkets.
Due to the evaporation process that companies harvest the salt, which leaves everything but the water, these plastic contaminations are probably not isolated to China and could be found everywhere.
The researchers found that if you consumed the WHO’s recommended amount of
Chinese salt, you would also consume 1,000 plastic microparticles each year.