A Water Quality Activist Tests Missouri Waters For Tiny Pieces Of Plastic

Read the full story from NPR. ISTC researchers are analyzing the samples for this project.

Missouri waters are polluted with microplastics, small pieces of plastic smaller than a pencil eraser.

Microplastics can come from large pieces of plastic that degrade into smaller pieces and consumer products, like toothpaste and cosmetics, that contain microbeads. While research has shown that plastic pollution can threaten aquatic life, scientists are still trying to understand how microplastics could affect human health.

Understanding the impact of microplastics starts by knowing how much is in local waters, said Rachel Bartels, co-founder of the nonprofit Missouri Confluence Waterkeeper.