We've Thrown Microscopic Plastic Confetti Into Every Last Inch of Ocean

The guys from One Minute Science are back with a particularly grim explainer this weekend: Why just about every cubic foot of ocean is embedded with tiny bits of plastic. You've heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, right? This is on a different scale—it's even less visible, and just as insidious.

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As the video explains, the sun and elements break down our plastic trash into tiny, tiny bits. These can't be broken down as smaller bits of organic matter normally would, so they float aimlessly—billions upon billions of pieces of multi-colored confetti, forever present but rarely noticed. [MinuteEarth]

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aarondavis02
Aaron Davis

There is also trace amount of the synthetic main ingredient in Scotchgard, perfluorooctane sulfonate, inside pretty much every living thing on earth, including the bloodstream of every single human.


In 1997, 3M found PFOS in supposedly clean samples from blood banks all over the world. PFOS has since been detected in the blood of children, in Alaskan polar bears and in bald eagles from the Great Lakes. A 1999 3M study tentatively identified PFOS in the blood or liver of California sea lions, albatross, Caspian seals and cormorants. PFOS has been detected in bottle-nosed dolphins, harbor seals, northern fur seals, minks, turtles, albatross, otter, herring gulls, bald eagles and in the eggs of wild birds.