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Fish eat toxin-laden microbeads: experts

AAP logoAAP 16/08/2016

Toxins absorbed into microbeads have been found in fish tissue and researchers fear they could be making it onto our dinner plates.

The tiny plastics - which are found in toothpaste and facial scrubs and washed into waterways - absorb pollution, and this ends up in the fish that eat them, Australian and Chinese research says.

"Potentially we're going to be exposed to the same pollutants by eating the fish that are eating the microbeads," RMIT lead researcher Bradley Clarke told AAP on Tuesday.

Dr Bradley fed microbeads contaminated with pollutants to laboratory fish and found up to 12 per cent of that in the tissue.

"Microbeads should have never been incorporated into personal care products in the first instance and should be removed from sale immediately," he said.

Persistent organic pollutants (PoPs) are not biodegradable and have been linked to neurological health problems, impaired immune function and fertility problems.

The Australian government last year committed to a voluntary phase-out of microbeads by mid-2018.

But it said if companies didn't comply, the plastics could be banned altogether.

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