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Tiny pieces of plastic are hiding in your table salt

Every time you pass your saltshaker over your food, you’re also seasoning your meal with plastic, according to a new study.

Researchers in China analyzed 15 different kinds of table salt from supermarkets and discovered “microplastic” lurking among the grains. That’s micro-size pieces of water bottles, cellophane and all manner of other definitely-not-salt particles.

Think you can avoid the contamination by picking the right salt? Alas, this is impossible. Plastic contaminates salt all over the world, not just in China. And the researchers found plastic particles in sea salts, lake salts and rock/well salts. However, they found the highest concentration in sea salt — a whopping 1,200 particles per pound. Yikes!

More: In a pickle: How to fix overly salted food

This is disturbing news for those of us who choose sea salt for the flavor and to avoid added iodine. And it’s awful news for anyone trying to minimize contact with the toxins found in plastics in general. What can we do?

There’s not a whole lot you can do except reduce your salt consumption. If you’ve been considering cutting back, this could be just the motivation you need. (Are you ever going to get that visual of sprinkling plastic particles over your food out of your mind?) And since processed, restaurant and fast food all tend to be high in salt as well, the plastic problem is one more reason to avoid them. Oh, but you still need to eat some salt. It helps balance your body fluids and helps your muscles and nerves to work.

More: Risk in cutting salt?

The big-picture solution is daunting: Stop putting so much plastic into the environment. The plastic water bottles we all throw away, those microbeads in your cleaners, all the plastic bags… Hoo boy, it all comes right back to us one way or another. I’d just as soon not actually digest it, though. How about you?

More: Avoid plastics to avoid BPA health hazards

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