Toys, toothbrushes leach toxic metals onto beaches: SFU

Every piece of plastic that reserachers found in Burrard Inlet was contaminated

Even innocent plastic items such as toothbrushes that are left on B.C. beaches are leaching toxic metals into the water, a SFU study released Wednesday suggests.

Researchers found that plastic particles as small as five millimetres release toxic metals into the environment.

“While extremely high levels of the four metals were found in certain items, all items carried traces of them,” said researcher Leah Bendell.

“This can pose significant toxicological threats and impair the health of coastal ecosystems.”

Environmental engineering master student Bertrand Munier spent four weeks collecting more than 15o pieces of plastic debris from nine beaches along the Burrard Inlet.

The junk included toys, personal hygiene items, bicycle parts and food packaging.

The researchers found varying traces of metals, cadmium, zinc, copper and lead in every piece of debris.

“Even something as innocuous as a child’s toy left on the beach will provide a sorption site for metals, which will then break down into fragments that could then allow the entry of toxic metals into coastal food webs,” Bendell said.

She warned that World Economic Forum estimates show the total mass of plastics in our oceans will outweigh the biomass of fish by 2050.

Just Posted

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Police patrol for looters in evacuated areas south of Burns Lake

RCMP have brought in extra officers for the task

Fire chases Burns Lake crews out of their own camp

Crews are having to leave after a wildfire reportedly overtook their sleeping quarters

Four seek federal Conservative nomination

Successful candidate to be chosen for Oct. 2019 federal election

Paul’s Bakery celebrates its 60th anniversary

Despite everything around it changing, the bakery has remained a family affair.

B.C. team stays alive in Little League World Series after another nail-biter

Surrey-based squad scored a 6-4 win over Mexico reps in Williamsport on Monday

Kids, seniors at risk as smoke from distant fires hangs over parts of B.C.

B.C. Centre for Disease Control says children’s lungs don’t fully develop until about age 10

B.C. mother charged in 7-year-old daughter’s death appears in court

The 36-year-old mother, of Langley’s Aaliyah Rosa, has been charged with second-degree murder

VIDEO: Teen soccer phenomenon Alphonso Davies to visit B.C. kids camp

The 17-year-old Vancouver Whitecap player is one of the youngest players in MLS history

New plan to lift more than two million people past the poverty line

Anti-poverty strategy will aim for 50 per cent cut in low-income rates: source

Liberals scrap lottery system for reuniting immigrants with their parents

Lottery for parent sponsorship to be replaced, more applications to be accepted

Bear kills off-leash dog in B.C. park

There have been nearly 200 pet or livestock and bear encounters so far this year

Most Read