You are what you eat: Microplastics in seafood, with David Santillo

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Plastic fish art installation, Nye Beach, Oregon. Credit: mmoca, CC BY-ND 2.0.

You are what you eat, or so you think. The next time you sit down to enjoy that bowl of cioppino or salmon fillet, you may be ingesting more than you realize. Plastic pollution is widespread in global waters, and microplastics—particles smaller than 5 mm—are being increasingly found in the most popular seafood items.

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The May 2017 issue of IEAM features an invited commentary that examines the widespread contamination of commercially important seafood species by microplastics. It is part of a series of invited commentaries in the same issue, designed to broaden our current understanding of risks posed by microplastics in the environment. We chat with lead author David Santillo about his work and how to be an educated seafood consumer. Read the article in the series in the May 2017 issue of IEAM.

About the Guest

Dr David Santillo in Exeter LaboratoryDr. David Santillo is a marine and freshwater biologist and analytical chemist, with more than 20 years of experience as a research scientist with the Greenpeace Research Laboratories, based at the University of Exeter in the UK.  Since joining Greenpeace’s Science Unit in May 1994, David has provided scientific advice and analytical support on a wide range of projects around the world aimed at documenting pollution and enhancing environmental protection.  He has co-authored numerous peer-reviewed papers, including several relating to chemical contamination of the environment and of food samples, as well as many technical reports and commissioned reviews (see www.greenpeace.to/greenpeace for details and downloads).  David has also represented Greenpeace at a range of international environmental treaties relating inter alia to the protection of the marine environment from hazardous chemicals, plastics and other pollutants (including the OSPAR Convention and the London Protocol on dumping of wastes at sea) and has been an active member of the UK government’s Chemicals Stakeholder Forum for more than 10 years.

Articles Referenced in this Podcast

Santillo D, Miller K, Johnston P. 2017. Microplastics as contaminants in commercially important seafood species. Integr Environ Assess Manag 13: 516–521. doi:10.1002/ieam.1909

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