why are people more concerned about microplastics than regular plastic, doesn’t regular plastic also break down into smaller and smaller pieces?


Like when people are worried about the microplastics in toothpaste, but not the plastic tube it comes in. Isn’t that tube going to break down into way more microplastics than the toothpaste itself contains?

In: Other

>Isn’t that tube going to break down into way more microplastics than the toothpaste itself contains?

Not in a meaningful amount while you’re still brushing.

When you throw the empty tube in the forest or the next river instead of properly disposing it, it WILL turn to microplastic after some years, but hey at least not inside your mouth.

Where I live we have recycling bins that will mostly end up being burned to generate heating or electricity.

The tube is more or less stable while it’s in use. Plastics usually deteriorate and degrade into microplastics after being exposed to the elements for some time, like lying around in a landfill or floating in the ocean. Those microplastics then enter the food chain and work their way up into our bodies through food.

Yes, but embedding microplastics in toothpaste is a 100% sure way of letting the microplastics go into bodies of water as pollutants, while you can do more to mitigate the risks for these intact tubes (like recycling)

they’re generally concerned about ingesting (eating) those microplastics and then having them accumulate in their stomachs.

besides that, larger plastics also are easier to collect and have them recycled (in theory at least) than microscopic particles.

but yeah from an environmental standpoint all plastics “deserve to be worried about”.

It’s way easier to spot and remove a toothpaste tube in your fish and chips than microplastics. People get way more concerned about stuff that directly affects them *now* than stuff that *may* affect them in the future.

Thanks for the quick answers everyone!

Funnily enough, some “Biodegradable plastics” don’t break down in nature, they just deteriorate and turn into microplastics faster than regular plastic.

People are also generally concerned with plastic use and where it comes from. So it’s not like we only care about microplastics.

However, it’s much easier to deal with a tube you can see with your eyes than with microplastics you cannot see. So microplastics in toothpaste will end up directly in the water whereas a plastic tube will end up in disposal somewhere. It could still end up in the ocean, but it’s hardly guaranteed.

You’ll know if you swallow a bottle cap. You won’t know that you’ve swallowed a bottle cap worth of microplastics. The tiny ones can get absorbed into the body and cause cancer amongst a swell of other problems.

Plastics, even those not containing BPA, have been found to produce chemicals similar to estrogen. People are worried about the effects these microplastics will have on the ecosystem and, ultimately, on the human body. For years the testosterone levels in western men have been falling. I personally attribute this to a lack of need for the hormone. Many men lead cushy easy lives today compared to how it was a few hundred years ago. No longer can only the strongest survive. Physically weaker people are able to live comfortable lives and procreate. People also attribute this(lower t levels in men) to the increase in microplastics in todays environment.

As someone who relies on PEG 3350 to function, I for one welcome our new microplastic overlords.

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