You're probably familiar with the term "sea salt", but do you know how it's different from other types of salt? Well, generally, it's organic, minimally processed, strongly flavored, more expensive, and typically used for finishing dishes

In addition to its culinary usage, sea salt also has potential benefits when it comes to skin care, dental health, and even arthritis

That being said, do you think a little plastic mixed in your sea salt will "balance out" these benefits? Wait, what? Why? How? Don't worry, your questions will be answered one by one. Here's some concrete evidence as to why your sea salt might be contaminated.

Recent News


larryjh1234 on Flickr

Let us begin with what's been talked about in the news fairly recently. Two months ago, a scientific report titled "The presence of microplastics from commercial salts from different countries" was published online by Nature. As one of the most influential scientific journals, Nature claims about 3 million readers per month. The report quickly went viral, sparking intense reactions. "Now you can season your plastic-contaminated fish with plastic-contaminated sea salt," Michael Allen commented in an article published by the Hakai magazine.

So what exactly did the report say? Basically, researchers bought and analyzed a total of 17 brands of commercially sold sea salt from 8 countries including Australia, France, Iran, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Portugal, and South Africa. After dissolving each in water, they found a total of 72 particles, of which 41.6% were plastic polymers. Contaminants were found in all but one brand – the one from France –  and ranged from 1 to 10 particles per kilogram of salt.

But really, this is no news

το αλάτι : salt

dullhunk on Flickr

Back in 2015, a research study had already been conducted by Chinese scientists that revealed the same results. In the study, a total of 15 samples were collected from not just sea salts, but also lake salts and rock/well salts. Microplastics, which are plastic particles smaller than 5 millimeters in size, were found in all samples tested, with the highest content of microplastics in sea salts.

Surprise? Not really

Here is a list of things that you should know and seriously consider:

1. We dump thousands of tons of waste and trash into the ocean every day, a large portion of which is made up of plastic.

2. Now the most commonly found element in the ocean, plastic has become the number one source of pollution, fatally endangering the marine ecosystem.

3. Plastic never truly degrades or disappears; it merely breaks down into smaller pieces over time. Plastic debris absorbs toxic chemicals from the polluted ocean and poisons any sea creature that consumes it as food.

4. Base on the recommended level of seasoning intake, an adult is estimated to consume 1,000 microplastic particles from salt each year. On the other hand, if you compare this number to the 11,000 coming from contaminated shellfish, this may not be the worst thing in the world.

What do scientists say?

According to Richard Thompson, a biologist at Plymouth University in England, the concentrations of microplastics in seafood and salt are sufficiently low at the present that they do not yet pose a threat to human health. However, they will, eventually. Erik van Sebille, an oceanographer at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, said that how exactly marine creatures and humans will be affected by these plastic debris in the ocean still remains uncertain. Yet some lab tests did show that "nano-sized plastic fragments can enter cells and cause tissue damage."

What should I do?

tea, coffee
Nicole Witte

Well, the best thing you can do is to reduce your plastic waste. Cut back on the usage of plastic bags, straws, bottles, styrofoam take-out boxes, and even gum (believe if or not, most chewing gums are essentially made of plastic and account for 100,000 tons of plastic pollution each year). In short, ditch disposables, and embrace reusables!

If you want to learn more about living a plastic-free live, here are 100 ways for you to make a change. Once you've gotten into the habit, you will be surprised at how easy it all is.

Now you understand why your sea salt might be contaminated, have you dumped all the salts in your kitchen into the garbage? If that's what you did, just remember not to blame it on this article when your mom gets angry.

Just kidding! In fact, I will probably continue to buy sea salt even with the knowledge that the sea salt might be contaminated. Having plastic as a part of your meal has become inevitable, whether you like it or not. Rather than avoiding sea salt altogether, what you should do is to talk to your family and friends, and make a positive impact on the environment starting today!