European researchers have discovered that larval fish love to gobble-up plastic microbeads, which stunts their growth and makes them more vulnerable to predators. It’s yet another reason to ban these awful materials and to limit the amount of plastic entering into our lakes and oceans.
As reported in a new Science study, developing fish that are exposed to high concentrations of microplastic particles exhibit altered behaviors and stunted growth that lead to increased mortality rates. After exposure, baby fish became smaller, slower, and more susceptible to predators. Part of the problem, say the Uppsala researchers who led the work, is that larval fish are actually preferring the microplastic in favor of their natural food source. They’re literally getting hooked on this stuff as it were junk food.