Easy Ways to Reduce Exposure to Microplastics

A Healthier Michigan

| 2 min read

Microplastics are small plastic pieces that result from the breakdown of larger plastics in the environment. They’re often referred to as a pollutant and have been found to be harmful to the environment and animal health. While not all the effects of microplastic on the human body are known, microplastics have been linked to potential health issues for humans in recent studies on microplastics exposure. 
Americans on average consume between 75,000 and 120,000 microplastic particles a year, primarily through ingesting microplastics in air, food and water sources, according to a 2019 study in Environmental Science & Technology.

Reduce exposure to microplastics in the air

The majority of microplastics ingested by Americans are airborne, according to a 2023 study in Environment & Health. Most of these microplastics enter the atmosphere from the roads and road transportation. Some ways you can reduce your exposure to airborne microplastic particles include:
  • Dust and vacuum regularly
  • Use air filters or purifiers
  • Always wear respiratory masks when working around dust, airborne particles, and roadways
  • Stop smoking and vaping

Reduce exposure to microplastics through water

If your primary source of water intake is through plastic, bottled water, you are likely to ingest up to 90,000 additional microplastic particles each year on top of the average for Americans, according to the 2019 Environmental Science & Technology study. Easy ways to reduce your exposure to microplastics through the water you drink and cook with include:
  • Use glass or steel water bottles
  • Filter your tap water

Reduce exposure to microplastics through foods and packaging

Another major source of microplastic ingestion is through contaminated foods and plastic food packaging. How you store, seal, and transport your food and beverages matters for reducing your microplastic consumption. Here are some easy ways to reduce the potential amounts of microplastic particles that you ingest through your food and beverages when possible:
  • Don’t microwave foods in plastic packaging
  • Use a travel coffee mug or cup instead of disposable plastic cups
  • Use steel or any non-plastic ice cube trays
  • Use paper, wax paper, or foil to wrap foods for storage instead of plastic wrap 
  • Use paper or cloth reusable shopping bags
  • Use steel wool, cloth, fiber brushes or natural sponges instead of plastic sponges and brushes

Related Links:

A Healthier Michigan is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
No Personal Healthcare Advice or Other Advice
This Web site provides general educational information on health-related issues and provides access to health-related resources for the convenience of our users. This site and its health-related information and resources are not a substitute for professional medical advice or for the care that patients receive from their physicians or other health care providers.
This site and its health-related information resources are not meant to be the practice of medicine, the practice of nursing, or to carry out any professional health care advice or service in the state where you live. Nothing in this Web site is to be used for medical or nursing diagnosis or professional treatment.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other licensed health care provider. Always consult your health care provider before beginning any new treatment, or if you have any questions regarding a health condition. You should not disregard medical advice, or delay seeking medical advice, because of something you read in this site.