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Posted Tue Jun 15 2010: from Seattle PI, via DesdemonaDespair:
'Surprisingly large amount of microplastics in the environment'
While scientists have documented the effects of large plastic flotsam in the oceans for decades - turtles trapped in fishing nets, albatrosses swallowing plastic cigarette lighters - very little research has focused on what happens when those bigger pieces break down into tiny specks, called microplastics.... Baker said microscopic fragments are floating in the ocean and washing up on shores, but the exact consequences for marine organisms are still unknown. His project is developing methods to measure how much microplastics are in seawater and sediments, as a first step to answering those questions. They're sampling the waters of Puget Sound and using citizen scientists to help collect plastics that wash up on beaches.... "What's the impact? Frankly, we have no idea," said Baker, science director of the new Center for Urban Waters in Tacoma. "The one thing we know for sure is that it doesn't break down."
[Read more stories about: plastic problems, toxic water]

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'Doc Jim says:
If they don't break down, Mr. SmartyPants, then how did they become microplastics?
Besides, how hard could it be to filter the ocean of all that plastic, and then just throw it away?

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