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

A cuddle and a coffee: Six Island towns named among Canada’s most cozy

Sidney, Campbell River, Courtenay, Parksville, Tofino and Ucluelet crack Expedia’s top 40

Ucluelet police seize firearms and cocaine in drug trafficking investigation

The file remains under investigation and charges are pending.

New Coast Guard radar boosts marine traffic monitoring off B.C. coast

Six radar installations set up for Georgia Strait to Queen Charlotte Strait to Prince Rupert

Mainroad awarded 10-year maintenance contract for Tofino-Ucluelet Hwy. 4

See an issue on the highway? Report it to the Mainroad 24-hour hotline: 1-877-215-6006.

Gas prices on Vancouver Island to drop six cents

But a ‘volatile’ market could lead to increases in the coming weeks

Trudeau offers to help Pacific islands face climate change impact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the leaders from the Pacific island nations on Saturday during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea

Price makes 36 saves as Habs edge Canucks 3-2

Late goal lifts Montreal past Vancouver

BC Minister of Agriculture loses stepson to accidental overdose

Lana Popham announces death of her 23-year-old stepson, Dan Sealey

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

5 B.C. cities break temperature records

Parts of B.C. remain warm, at 10 C, while others feeling chilly

Most Read