This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Read my full DISCLOSURE HERE.
THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, PLEASE READ MY DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.
- A new study claims that 90 per cent of sea salt contains microplastics. Other studies have found microplastics in tap water, beer and honey.
- Microplastics are tiny particles of plastic debris that leach chemicals into the water and pose serious health risks to birds, marine life, and humans.
- Salt is good for the body, but plastic contamination isn’t. Which salt can I use safely for my body? Himalayan salt or Redmond salt, which come from ancient, unpolluted seabeds. Try purple bamboo salt, which may remove impurities during the heating process.
- Reduce your use of plastic goods to help minimize the number of microplastics in the ocean. It’s good for the planet and your body.
So Sea Salt has got microplastic in it now?!? Do you want me to lick my armpits instead?
I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news but, that really sucks. Sprinkling some nice salt on my avocado sandwich is just too good.
Here is a study I have come across from Greenpeace:
The study, which has been published in Environmental Science & Technology, a peer-reviewed scientific journal, analyzed 39 various salt brands globally, showing that plastic contamination in sea salt was highest, followed by lake salt, then rock salt – an indicator of the levels of plastic pollution in the areas where the salt was sourced. Only three of the salt brands studied did not contain any microplastic particles in the replicated samples.
That means when you sprinkle salt on your food you are sprinkling plastic on it too.
Where does the plastic in my salt come from?
We through roughly 13 million metric tons of plastic into the ocean every year. Surely this is going to haunt us one day, and it is doing so in a very sneaky way, as microplastics.
On average a drinking bottle is used for 12 min and then takes 100’s if not 1000’s of years to break
Since salt is usually being sourced from the ocean it is pretty obvious that it will contain plastic.
You may have heard about the “great pacific garbage patch”? Being the most famous of the 5 trash islands, the size of France.
They are accumulation of plastics and other trash that floats in the ocean moved by currents and wind.
Since plastic breaks further down into “microplastic” it eventually ends up in our food chain.
Hang on when you say break down does it go back into natural resources?
Good question I am glad you asked. To keep it short it doesn’t break down like your banana peel that gets eaten by worms and bacteria and turns into soil.
No, plastic breaks down into smaller pieces of plastic. It never turns back into a natural product ever again. It only gets smaller and smaller. Now we are seeing the impact we have on this planet since the first plastic bottle was created in 1947.
Every hour we dump a truckload of rubbish into the ocean.
This plastic waste has been found in the most remote places in the ocean. Since Sea Salt is a direct product from our ocean, there is no wonder that it has microplastic in it. Same goes for fish, muscles and other seafood, which eventually finds its way on our dinner plate.
How does it affect my health?
We are well aware of the adverse impacts of plastic particle pollution in our ecosystems and in animals. But with humans we run into a problem.
Unfortunately, there is not a lot of studies with humans yet, they simply say that plastic hasn’t been in our systems long enough to see the aftermath. What we do know however are the chemicals used to make plastic can cause many health-related problems.
- plastics are hydrophobic meaning they absorb chemicals from the environment such as PCBs, PBDEs and PAHs 
- plastics leach additives such as phthalates and BPA, which are endocrine disrupters. 
- plastics are cytotoxic (toxic to living cells) 
To sum it up:
Different human health problems like irritation in the eye, vision failure, breathing difficulties, respiratory problems, liver dysfunction, cancers, skin diseases, lungs problems, headache, dizziness, birth effect, reproductive, cardiovascular, genotoxic, and gastrointestinal causes for using toxic plastics. Plastics occur in serious environment pollution such as soil pollution, water pollution, and air pollution. Application of proper rules and regulations for the production and use of plastics can reduce the
That is a scary long list of many health problems. We know that if ingested by birds and marine l
We also know that in studies done on fish microplastics contributed to metabolic disorders and toxic effects in the liver.
The science behind the plastic pollution is quite worrying which is why I have been filtering my water and I don’t even drink much beer these days.
Yes there is microplastic in beer, ahhh. But that is another article.
How is Salt made?
These are the three main methods to obtain salt today:
- Evaporation from sea water
- Mining salt from the earth
- Creating salt brines
The most common method and also cheapest are salt brines, where water is pumped below the earth’s surface to dissolve salt deposits and create a brine. This brine is then pumped to the surface and evaporated to create salt. The salty brine may be treated prior to evaporation to reduce mineral content, yielding a nearly pure sodium chloride crystal. Used for our common table salt.
Like the name says is found under the earth surface from old underground waterways that dried up. It is mined via dynamite and then brought ti the earth surface, where it is crushed and mainly used for non food purposes. It is high in minerals but also other impurities.
Is made through natural evaporation of shallow seabeds and bays, where the sun and wind do the work. Salty crystals are left behind and collected for sale. This method is the most ancient and can only be done on countries with little to no rainfall.
This is a method from South Korea where sea salt is been placed into bamboo tubes and heated over a pine fire. This process takes 3 years and is meant to have healing properties.
If you would like to know more about this method here is a two-minute clip from the Great Big Story.
Did you know; Of 220 million tons of salt produced, only 6 % is used for human consumption?!?
Which Salts are safe to use?
Laura Parker writes in National Geographic that of 39 salt brands tested, 36 had microplastics in them, according to the new study by researchers in South Korea and Greenpeace East Asia.
The study, which has been published in Environmental Science & Technology, a peer-reviewed scientific journal, analyzed 39 various salt brands globally, showing that plastic contamination in sea salt was highest, followed by lake salt, then rock salt – an indicator of the levels of plastic pollution in the areas where the salt was sourced. Only three of the salt brands studied did not contain any microplastic particles in the replicated samples.Image
Salts to use are salts that come from wells or from mountains like the Himalayan salt. Plastic particles have been found to be airborne, hence why we can find them in the most remote places around the world.
Mined salts are relatively safe to eat. Because mined salts usually come from ancient seabeds that have not been in
There is evidence of plastic contamination in wells around the world but it is at a much lower rate than sea water. So salt from a well is also safe to eat.
Then there is bamboo salt, which is supposed to contain no microplastic any more due to the extreme heating process it has undergone. Not the cheapest option though.
The three salts that were free of plastic came from Taiwan, China, and France.
When you get your next batch of salt, check and make sure it is either one of those three options above.
If you live in America perhaps this graph might help you a bit more with your decision. Personally, I would go with Hawaiian or Utah sea salt, but it all depends on how easy access you have to these products.
Salts you can buy from Amazon
These salts contain no to very little amounts of microplastics in them. However I am no expert and these are purely products I consume and feel good about sharing.
Perhaps the best option here is to go to your bulk food store and bring your mason jars with you, so that you can get your salt the zero waste style.
Let’s go zero waste and stop more plastic in the sea.
So there you have it.
Should you stop eating salt completely?
I don’t think so. But be more aware of what you put into your system. It’s like a car if you fuel it up with cheap dirty fuel it won’t run very long. Well, the same goes for our body. Fuel it with healthy foods and your body will last a lot longer.
Let’s be the solution to this ever growing problem and start with eliminating single-use plastic from our lives. Become a zero waste man! Or woman!
- Try to buy clothes from natural fibres
- Make sure your cosmetics have no microbeads in them
- Use reusable items, such as food storage, coffee cups and reusable bottles.
- Say ‘no’ to straws and plastic bags and any unnecessary single-use items.
- Filter your drinking water and turn your life into a zero waste life.
Hey, what are your thoughts on this subject? How is your zero waste journey going so far? I’d love to hear from you and I make sure to answer all your questions below.