Continuing research on Lake Michigan and throughout the Great Lakes is turning up important information on the presence and concentration of microplastics – particles too small to be filtered by water treatment plants, but which can have negative effects on the environment.
From the StarTribune:
“Fresh off the research boat, Lorena Rios-Mendoza, assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, presented her preliminary findings to reporters Thursday.She said Lake Erie seems to hold the highest concentrations of plastics, probably because the particles float downstream from the upper lakes, according to the Duluth News Tribune (http://bit.ly/1cnm6BS ).The plastic has also been found in Lake Superior sediment, meaning it’s not just floating on the surface, Rios-Mendoza said.‘It was very shallow where they were found, but they were in the sediment,’ Rios-Mendoza said.
The researchers dragged fine-mesh nets across the surface of lakes. Some of the plastic can be seen only under a microscope.
So far, Rios-Mendoza’s hypothesis is that the plastic in the Great Lakes starts small, possibly as scrubbing beads in household or beauty products, facial scrubs and even some toothpaste.”
Follow the link above to read the complete article, including information about some of the harmful properties of this pollution, and read about IISG’s Laura Kammin and Anjanette Riley taking part in the research this summer here.