Scientists Reveal Yet Another Source of Micoplastics Contamination in Our Households – Magic Sponges

Scientists Reveal Yet Another Source of Micoplastics Contamination in Our Households – Magic Sponges

Scientists Reveal Yet Another Source of Micoplastics Contamination in Our Households – Magic Sponges

“Magic Erasers” have become popular household cleaning products over the past decade or so – noted for their ability to “erase” tough stains that are often impervious to other cleaners. If you’re like me, you probably have one or two in your home right now. But new research reveals that the “magical” effects of these sponges potentially carry a very high cost in terms of exposing you to potentially harmful microplastics.

“Magic” sponges are made up of a network of hard plastic strands assembled into a lightweight foam called melamine. This foam is highly abrasive, making it a seemingly ideal material for scrubbing tough stains. However, all that scrubbing causes the foam to break down into smaller and smaller pieces, potentially exposing us to trillions of microplastics every month, according to new research.

A new study from the Journal of Environmental Science & Technology found that, on average, a single sponge releases approximately 6.5 million fibers per gram of worn-out sponge. Using Amazon to assess monthly sales data from Amazon, and assuming a roughly 10 percent across all sponges per month, the research team calculated that roughly 1.55 trillion microplastic fibers could be released from these “magic” sponges every single month. And that number only takes into account one online retailer, meaning the actual number could be even larger.

While scientists and researchers continue to study the impacts of these particles on the human body, microplastics are well-understood to contain chemicals known to disrupt our body’s natural release of hormones that can lead to reproductive disorders and certain cancers. Research also suggests that microplastics may carry heavy metals and other toxic compounds on their surface, like heavy metals.

Minimizing our exposure to microplastics emissions sure seems like a good idea. This study suggests one way to do so if for “magic” sponge manufacturers to create denser, tougher sponges that were shown to be more resistant to wear and short-to-medium term breakdown. But another way for you to reduce your exposure is to opt for natural cleaning products that are not made from plastics products. Microplastics have contaminated virtually every facet of our environment, and we need all the help we can get to reduce our exposure.