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

Wildfire evacuees eligible for financial assistance

Urged to register at reception centres in Burns Lake, Smithers and Prince George

Wildfire update for Thursday, August 16, 2018

Shovel Lake: 68,375 hectares - yesterday 50,831 hectares The Shovel Lake wildfire… Continue reading

Evacuation order rescinded for Gilmore Lake Fire

Evacuation alert remains in effect

Shovel Lake expanded evacuation order

The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako has issued an expanded Evacuation Order and… Continue reading

B.C. wildfires 2018: Hazy skies impacting crews in spotting new fires

18,000 people are on an evacuation alert, with 3,000 homes under an evacuation order

Minister optimistic after 2 days of Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Canadian and U.S. officials met in Nelson Wednesday and Thursday to discuss future of the treaty

Man dies in B.C. police cell while awaiting court hearing

An independent investigation is underway after a man died while in Penticton police custody Aug. 16

RCMP appeal for tips, dashcam footage in German tourist shooting west of Calgary

The Durango crashed into the ditch after the shooting near the Goodstoney Rodeo Centre

2 nurses attacked at B.C. psych hospital, union calls for in-unit security

PHSA says that in-unit guards would do more harm than good

Former B.C. optician won’t be jailed for sexually assaulting minor

Kenneth Pilkington sentenced to 24 months’ probation for offence three decades ago

Red Cross now accepting donations for those impacted by B.C. wildfires

The Canadian Red Cross is asking for help now and in the weeks and months ahead.

B.C. program to educate parents reduces ‘shaken baby syndrome’ by 35%

Period of PURPLE Crying was launched nearly a decade ago

B.C. golfer, just 23, scores the rare albatross

Six-million-to-one shot a first for the Terrace club

Most Read