Ocean Commotion

Even though you're not a fish, ocean pollution could still be affecting you.

Ocean pollution encompasses purposeful and accidental pollution of plastics and even harmful byproducts of factories. So, how is this affecting you? We are exposed to many harmful toxins primarily by eating fish and seafood but also by swimming at beaches.

So, you may be wondering where these harmful toxins come from in the first place. They can enter the water as an unwanted byproduct of incineration processes in factories which release chemicals such as Dioxins. They can also enter when plastic litter breaks down, releasing Phthalates and BPA throughout the water. With the large amount of plastic in the ocean, you can only imagine how many toxins are released. Today the ocean  is filled with plastics to the point where we have actual islands made of plastics that are filled with millions of pieces of plastic.

When pollutants enter the ocean they break down over time, and although that plastic bag could breakdown, the fat-soluble toxins remain in the water until they are eaten. The food chain can be something like this: 1) krill and plankton consume the toxin 2) a small herring eats the plankton 3) salmon eats herring 4)orca whale eats salmon. Although the plankton eat the toxins first, bigger fish are exposed to more toxins because they eat more. So, being at the top of the food chain, it is important to limit weekly fish intake depending on fish size.

Although it might be hard to change every aspect of your life to avoid these compounds, you can change a few small things to help both the environment and your health. 
A few ways are by limiting your use of plastics, recycling, helping with beach clean ups, and reducing your weekly intake of fish and seafood.

By Sara Frawley

Sources: http://marinebio.org/oceans/ocean-dumping/

https://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/health/case_studies/plastics.html