Dec 5, 2018

Researchers find plastic particles in every sea turtle tested for study

Sea turtles going into the ocean. Photo: Edgar Santiago García/picture alliance via Getty Images

Research published in the journal Global Change Biology revealed that more than 800 synthetic particles, including "microplastics," were found in the digestive systems of 102 sea turtles examined from 3 ocean basins.

Why it matters: The fact that microplastics were found in all of the turtles tested by researchers — in oceans all across the world — highlights the impact of marine plastic waste and its potential effects on animals. The study estimated that between 4.8 and 12.7 million tons of plastic waste could enter the world's waters each year.

  • The sea turtles were pulled from seven species from across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans as well as the Mediterranean Sea. They performed necropsies on the turtles, examining their "gut content."
  • The samples extracted only provide a look at a portion of the turtles' gut content, indicating that the actual synthetic particle content throughout a turtle's whole gut is likely to be 20 times higher.

What's next: It's unclear how microplastics might actually affect the turtles' digestive systems, since they seem to be able to deal with them without adverse effects, per CNN.

  • Researchers are worried that the synthetic particles could expose marine life to toxins at the cellular level, perhaps exposing them to bacteria or diseases.

Go deeper: Plastic straws play only minor role in global plastics pollution

Go deeper

This year's census may be the toughest count yet

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Community leaders are concerned that historically hard-to-count residents will be even harder to count in this year's census, thanks to technological hurdles and increased distrust in government.

Why it matters: The census — which will count more than 330 million people this year — determines how $1.5 trillion in federal funding gets allocated across state and local governments. Inaccurate counts mean that communities don't get their fair share of those dollars.

Live updates: Coronavirus spreads to Latin America

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

Brazil confirmed the first novel coronavirus case in Latin America Wednesday — a 61-year-old that tested positive after returning from a visit to northern Italy, the epicenter of Europe's outbreak.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 81,000 others. By Wednesday morning, South Korea had the most cases outside China, with 1,261 infections. Europe's biggest outbreak is in Italy, where 374 cases have been confirmed.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

Scoop: Census Bureau is paying Chinese state media to reach Americans

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The 2020 Census Paid Media Campaign, which sends U.S. taxpayer dollars to community media outlets to run ads about the upcoming census, is including a Chinese state-run broadcaster as one of its media vendors.

Why it matters: After China's yearslong campaign to co-opt independent Chinese-language media in the U.S., Washington is now paying Beijing-linked media outlets in order to reach Chinese Americans.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - World