Australian scientists have found that rice may contain harmful microplastic levels Journal of Hazardous Substances.
Researchers at the University of Queensland (UQ) have found that an average of 100 grams of uncooked rice may contain 3-4 mg of plastic.
An average of 13 mg per 100 g serving. The microplastic content of instant or pre-cooked rice is four times higher.
The lead author of the study, Dr. Jack Dr. O’Brien, used an innovative method for measuring plastics, which UQ had already developed and used during past studies on seafood and sewage sludge.
Common pocket rice was used for general research and UQ’s amazing technique was applied to seven different plastic types.
The researchers examined the most common plastics, polyethylene, plastics used in clothing and food production, laminate, technical engineering, polystyrene, acrylics and ductwork.
The average grain of tested rice measured 8 mm in length. Microplastics are defined as a plastic material of 5 mm or less.
Dr. O’Brien said the study was not worrying, but should motivate people to consider the products they purchased.
“I don’t think people should worry, I think people should be vigilant,” he said.
“There are currently many unknowns about how harmful microplastics can be to human health, but we know that exposure can pose an element of risk.
“We hope this study promotes further research into where rice plastic pollution occurs, so it can reduce pollution and increase social awareness about where daily plastic exposure occurs.”