1,000 years from now, lego bricks could be found in the ocean

A new study says that it could be centuries before millions of the classic toys submerged in the Earth's seas disintegrate.

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  • A new study by researchers from the University of Plymouth estimates that it could be up to 1,300 years before LEGO pieces lost to the sea disintegrate.
  • Researchers collected fifty LEGO pieces washed up on beaches in southwest England and compared them to archived blocks in their original condition.
  • The classic children's toy is made of an incredibly durable material called acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), a rock-solid polymer.
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New technique turns junk into valuable graphene

Graphene is insanely useful, but very difficult to produce — until now.

Jeff Fitlow
  • Graphene is a lattice of carbon atoms arranged in a chicken-wire formation, a structure that makes it very useful for a wide range of applications.
  • However, it's been very difficult and expensive to make.
  • This new technique cuts down on the cost and difficulty by flash heating any carbon-based material, such as used coffee grounds or plastic waste.
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Humans are exposed to 44 times as much BPA as previously assumed

A new method of measuring human exposure to the potentially toxic chemical calls into question regulatory policy.

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  • Bisphenol A, or BPA, is produced at a massive scale in order to manufacture plastics.
  • It's been linked to a wide variety of negative health effects, but regulatory agencies have mainly left the chemical alone due to its usefulness and the low exposure levels found in humans.
  • However, a new study found that the method that most researchers have used to measure BPA exposure in humans drastically underestimates the actual exposure.
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Microplastics in the soil point to another potential ecosystem collapse

When these particles are eaten by earthworms, the results are not good.

Photo by: Andia/ Universal Images Group via Getty Images
  • New research from Anglia Ruskin University states that microplastics in soil are causing earthworms to lose weight.
  • Soil affected by microplastics produces less crop yield due to less productive earthworms and lower pH levels.
  • If this trend continues, our entire agricultural system could be compromised.
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Grocery store-bought tea bags release billions of microplastic particles into every cup

Those silky tea bags might be releasing plastics into your digestive system.

Image source: Illustration by Florian Gaertner / Getty Images
  • A new study at McGill University discovered that many tea bags leach billions of plastic particles into every cup.
  • While the health dangers are unknown, past research uncovered serious problems in other mammals when consuming such particles.
  • Scientists estimate that between five and 13 million metric tons of plastic are dumped into oceans every single year.
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