Our Local Tahong Tested Positive For Microplastic

Can these microplastics cause harm to our health?

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According to a report by GMA News, green mussels or tahong that were taken from different areas in the Philippines were found to have microplastic in it.

Dr. Jose Isagana Janairo of De La Salle University worked with the Department of Science and Technology (DST) to test the tahong samples, taken from three different locations in the Philippines, using the Fourier-transform Infrared Spectroscopy method (FTIR). In layman's term, the FTIR is an analytical technique that uses infrared light to identify organic, polymeric, and inorganic materials.

The findings of Dr. Janairo and the DST found that two out of the three samples were found to be positive for microplastics, specifically Polyethylene. The third sample, on the other hand, tested positive for "suspected microplastics." Polyethylene or PET is usually used in producing water bottles and some fabrics or textiles. 

Several studies have found that finding microplastics in seafood is becoming more common nowadays and that sometimes, we are simply unaware that we ingest it. This begs us to ask: Can these microplastics cause harm to our health?

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According to Microplastics in Seafood and the Implications for Human Health, a study by Madeleine Smith, David Love, Chelsea Rochman, and Roni Neff, "Human activity has led to microplastic contamination throughout the marine environment." The research's conclusion indicates that, "The toxicity associated with consuming microplastics is likely dependent on size, associated chemicals, and dose."

Roy Ortega, the chief of the Bureau of Fishes and Aquatic Resources' Aquaculture Division, says that this should not cause any alarm. He adds, "Ang tahong sa Pilipinas po ay masasabi nating ligtas kainin, maliban na lamang sa panahon na maroon tayong tinatawag na red tide alert." (You can safely eat the green mussels from the Philippines, only with the exception of the red tide alert.)

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