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Fifth graders discover plastic in Great Lakes to be harmful

Research shows tiny pieces of plastic are flowing into Michigan’s Great Lakes. These tiny pieces are called microplastics.  They stem from decomposed bottles, sythetic clothing and some manufactured products.

Fifth graders from Ella M. White Elementary are studying and sampling these plastic pieces. They found most of the plastic comes from Styrofoam cups located in different spots in surrounding rivers.

According to the United States Geological Survey, “Ingested microplastics can cause digestive and reproductive problems, as well as death, in fish, birds and other animals. Unhealthy additives in the plastic, including flame retardants and antimicrobials, have been associated with cancer and endocrine disruption in humans.”

So 5th grader teacher Bob Thomson is using his class to create sampling kits to get more classrooms involved in their project.

“The best way to do that is to create a video that shows how to do it so that teachers can pull the video up and then walk through it with their classrooms,” thomson said.