Is Plastic in Oceans Causing Mollusks to Make Pearls?

Scallop pearls from NE coast of USA

Scallop pearls from NE coast of USA

Scientists want to find out if microplastics might cause mussels or oysters to make pearls - in nature often produced to combat natural irritants like sand.

Pearls might raise the value of some shellfish but also break the teeth of unlucky diners, Lusher said.

Tiny bits of plastic are contaminating mussels from the European Arctic to China in a sign of the global spread of ocean pollution that can end up on people’s dinner plates.

Mussels in apparently pristine Arctic waters had most plastic of any tested along the Norwegian coast, according to a study this month by the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA).

Plastics may be getting swept north by ocean currents and winds from Europe and America, ending up swirling around the Arctic Ocean, NIVA researcher Amy Lusher told Reuters.

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