How Jacobsen Salt Co.'s Water Filtration Prevents Microplastics

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In 2018, a report came out detailing the prevalence of microplastics in various table and sea salts from around the world, with new research showing microplastics in 90 percent of the table salt brands sampled worldwide. In light of this, Jacobsen Salt Co. is proud to report that our processes and strict filtration procedures help remove microplastics from the seawater we use to produce our Oregon Sea Salt.

“Having reviewed the aforementioned study, I've found that the microplastic particles found in sea salts and other products range in size from 344 microns to 686 microns,” said Paul Self, one of Jacobsen Salt Co.’s Salt Makers. “Since we filter all of our seawater through one .5 and two 5 micron filters, none of those particles—if present—make it into our sea salt.”

It all starts with our location– the pristine waters of Netarts Bay. After testing water from 27 different locations, we settled on this site: a relatively shallow estuary that is home to millions of oysters and other bivalves, which help filter the seawater. This helps create water that is high in salinity and low in turbidity, which has also been essentially prefiltered before it reaches our saltworks.

Next, all of the seawater we pump in from the ocean is filtered at least three times before beginning the salt-making process. First, seawater is filtered for any larger debris that may be naturally found in the ocean. Then, the water is passed through a UV ultra-filter, two sets of reverse osmosis membranes, then two separate 5 micron filters and finally a 0.5-micron filter which removes microplastics and pollutants coming in the sea. In addition, the Netarts Bay water, brine, and our finished sea salts are all tested annually to ensure we are doing enough to keep our salt pure and clean.

As for our sourced salts, these are tested for microplastics and pollutants and we require certificates of analysis for each order of salt that is delivered to our warehouse. Every order we accept has been previously tested for pollutants.

Microplastics are a growing concern in our planet’s water ecology. According to the National Ocean Service, the cosmetics industry started using microbeads in the 1970s, which were small enough to pass through water filtration systems and into our oceans and lakes. Former President Obama signed the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015, banning plastic microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products; the act marked a large step in the right direction to cleaning up our oceans, aquatic life, and waterways. Unfortunately, other sources of microplastics in the form of larger plastics are prevalent in our waters, breaking down to smaller sizes.

Looking to reduce contributions of microplastics into our environment?
The Ocean Society offers a few tips for those looking to minimize their environmental impact:
1. Reduce Your Use of Single-Use Plastics
2. Recycle Properly
3. Participate In (or Organize) a Beach or River Cleanup
4. Support Bans
5. Avoid Products Containing Microbeads
6. Support Organizations Addressing Plastic Pollution

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