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

UPDATE: DriveBC says highway re-opened after accident

Highway 22 closed for seven hours on Saturday

Forestry workers set to begin job action in Kootenays

Operations in Castlegar, Cranbrook, Galloway, Elko, Radium, Golden may see job action this week.

Métis Flag flies in Trail on Louis Riel Day

Area students, officials and public attend flag raising at Trail City Hall

Early Trail borrowed a couple of names from the U.S.

Place Names: Connection between Trail and Butte, Montana

First Past the Post is the only option

Letter to the Editor by Dieter Bogs of Trail

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

B.C. VIEWS: Setting speed limits in a post-fact political environment

Media prefer ‘speed kills’ narrative, even when it fails to appear

Controversy erupts over Japanese flag in B.C. classroom (updated)

Online petition demanding removal has collected more than 5,700 signatures

Death toll rises to 76 in California fire with winds ahead

Nearly 1,300 people remain unaccounted for more than a week after the fire began

Most Read