That’s the federal government’s reasoning in a new initiative it is funding. This is a bad idea.
Microplastics are polluting our environment and wrecking our health. To combat this pollution, the government is funding research…to turn microplastics into food. Yes, you read that correctly. The Defense Department is funding a project to turn plastic into food for the military. But what starts as a military project could be deployed more widely if it is successful, potentially exposing us more to dangerous chemicals. There are other ways that we can mitigate our exposure to plastics and their dangerous additives.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) gave a $2.7 million grant to Iowa State University to convert plastic wastes into fatty alcohols and fatty acids, where every pound of packaging and expendable supplies could be turned into four ounces of “high-protein nourishment” for soldiers! Aside from being reminiscent of sci-fi dystopias (Soylent Green, anyone?) the health effects of converting plastics into food are truly frightening.
The world is awash in plastics. A total of 8300 million metric tons of plastic was manufactured between 1950 and 2015, and it’s getting even worse: 368 million metric tons was produced in 2019 alone. This isn’t just a catastrophe for the environment. Increasingly, research is demonstrating serious risks to human health through exposure to microplastics in the air, water, and our diet. Some estimate that we ingest about five grams of plastic each year.
Apparently the government’s answer to deal with the increasing plastic problem is to put it into our food, but this is a terrible idea as we’ll explain below. There are better ways to reduce our use of plastic and address plastic pollution. These include reducing our reliance on single use plastics like straws and utensils, avoiding plastic shopping bags and instead bringing your own cloth bags to the grocery store, avoiding food in plastic takeout containers, replacing plastic Tupperware with glass, buying boxes instead of bottles, and drinking from reusable glass water bottles rather than plastic bottles, to name just a few.
Microplastics are generated in two ways: either they are produced by industry (for use in cosmetics, for example) or as the result of the degradation of larger plastics. Even simple actions like opening plastic food wrapping with our hands or scissors produces microplastics. Microplastics persist in the environment for hundreds to thousands of years.
The impacts on the environment are substantial and have been documented elsewhere. Here we will focus on the impacts to human health, which scientists are only just starting to grasp.
There are several ways in which humans are exposed to and ingest microplastics, with inhalation of indoor air and drinking water being the two dominant sources. In the air, the primary sources of microplastics are from synthetic textiles, building materials, and degradation of plastics. Both tap water and bottled water are contaminated with microplastics
Our food is another source of exposure. Microplastics have been detected in seafood, honey, milk, beer, and table salt, not to mention takeout food containers, with polystyrene containers having the highest level.
Make no mistake, microplastics are everywhere. They’ve been detected in the lowest place on the planet, the Mariana Trench, to the highest place on the planet, Mount Everest. Studies have shown a disturbing amount of microplastics in baby feces at concentrations ten times higher than adult samples, showing that microplastics are passed from mother to child through the placenta. Size and shape of the particles matter, with smaller particles having the capability of crossing the blood-brain barrier, the GI tract, and entering systemic circulation.
The health implications of these exposures are serious. Studies have found that airborne microplastics can accumulate in the lungs and may increase cancer risk. Animal and cell studies demonstrate that exposures to microplastics can result in inflammation, oxidative stress (which causes cell tissue to break down and DNA damage), and adverse effects on the immune system.
Other studies have demonstrated microplastics alter energy and lipid metabolism in offspring and subsequent generations. In fact, the global increase in plastic production correlates with increasing rates of obesity in the human population.
Unfortunately, the problems for human health do not stop there. Exposure to microplastics may seem bad enough, but their dangers are compounded because exposure to microplastics means increasing exposure to additives in plastic manufacturing, including phthalates, bisphenols like BPA, flame retardants, and a host of other chemicals, many of which are endocrine disruptors—the dangers of which we’ve documented in previous coverage.
There are several ways to reduce your exposure to plastics, though it will be impossible to eliminate your exposure completely. Cutting back our use of single-use plastics is crucial in the big picture to reduce plastics in the environment. Ten states have enacted state-wide plastic bag bans; more legislatures could be urged to follow suit. Other ways to address microplastics to protect our health include vacuuming regularly with HEPA filters to remove plastics from our living space. Some companies market air purifiers that purport to remove some microplastics from the air. Experts recommend drinking filtered tap water rather than bottled water, which tends to have far higher amounts of plastic contamination than tap water.
25 thoughts on “Eating Plastic Waste, to Reduce Plastic Waste?”
Better they should talk to Israel where a plastic eating bacterium was developed & tested on some of the large “islets” of plastic in the oceans successfully, yrs ago. Not sure what became of that, however.
It really is time for a new political Party in the US called CommonSense USA; the current recycled industry experts have lost touch with reality.
Totally agree ??
I suspect that we can certainly “hack” Chinese bio-engineering, or just flat out steal their technology. Why? The CCP has been feeding their populations plastic for over 10 years.
Please don’t send any emails to The Government saying that they should eat excrement. After all, they may take it literally!
Eating plastic waste to reduce plastic waste??? This is absolutely an insane idea!!! The Defense Department is funding a project to turn plastic into food for the military??? This is outrageous and this is diabolical!!! My advice to the soldiers is… Quit the military! Do it for your health!
Why is it that our honored military gets the blunt and butt of the government’s unhealthy experiments ?? Those who propagate this should be the ones they experiment on.
RIGHTO PAMELA, AND DON’T FORGET THE WAY OVER CROWDED PRISONS CHALK FULL OF VOLINTEERS!?
Because when they take the oath, they give up a lot of rights that citizens are guranteed.
our health rarely matters as its always about the MONEY $$$$$
You absolutely hit the nail on the head. Greed and avarice is all it’s about!!
our health rarely matters as its always about the MONEY $$$$$
BINGO BERNARD!….HUMANS HAVE MADE $$$$$ BETTER AND BIGGER THAN GOD……FOR THE LOVE OF MONEY IS THE ROOT OF EVIL, SHAMEFUL.
Unbelievable. Is this really the USA?
Utterly sickening to say the least. Is President Biden responsible for this?
Why can’t we get behind plastics formulated through the use of hemp and soybeans? Instead we’re supporting big oil, and the floral carbons.
RIGHT WAY RON! AND OR A HUGE SPACE CRAFT/SATILITE THAT CAN PAY-LOAD MILLIONS ON METRIC TONS OF THIS CRAP AND SEND IT ON MANED OR UNMANED? AND SEND IT THROUGH SPACE TO THE SUN? NASA ENGINEERS DESIGN IT, OR? AND BIG OEL FUNDS IT?
What was not menti9ned is the hormone disrupting effect of plastic ingestion.
Also, just how is any plastic ( there are many different plastics) “converted to protein and fatty alcohols”?
The word, protein, may seem harmless, but do you remember the addition of Melamine to pet food and baby formula while calling it an amino acid or protein?
Senators and us House of Representatives step up to the plate say no to this insanity
Just get this done!!????
Since everything made out of hydrocarbons (fossil fuels) can be made out of carbohydrates (plants), all barriers to the production of the best candidate: hemp, which is: nontoxic, biodegradable, sustainable and affordable must be removed for the production of: food, fuel, plastics, fiber, and Pharma.
Our government is trying to kill us, as it is controlled by Luciferian globalists who believe that the earth is overpopulated. These evil people want to get the earth’s population to one billion or less.
I’ve always thought we could grind it up into a slurry and let steamships burn it for fuel (they’ve got a lot of volume to spare, they can afford to use a low-density energy source and exhaust scrubbers). Switzerland, I think took some of their steamships that they’d converted to diesel and converted them back to steam, because while diesel might have been more efficient, it was offset by the need to transport diesel rather than use locally-obtainable fuels. (A good steam turbine engine is comparable in energy efficiency to a gasoline engine) But the few steamships still on the Great Lakes are getting converted to diesel in the name of “efficiency.”
It’s obvious we’re nothing but cattle to them, if they are mentioning it, that means it’s really ready for distribution. All liars and demonic. Why would anyone trust DARPA? Defund these agencies, they don’t work for us.