Legos are a favorite among children. They are easy to use, can last long, and can help kids develop skills. "Lego is one of the most popular children's toys in history, and part of its appeal has always been its durability," Andrew Turner, an associate professor of environmental sciences at the University of Plymouth in England, said. However, even the full extent of its durability has surprised some researchers.
A recent study published in the journal Environmental Pollution revealed that lego bricks can outlast anyone by centuries. The researchers used X-rays and other analytic tools to measure and compare 50 castaway Lego bricks trawled from the coastlines of southwest England with 50 matching bricks that never left their boxes. Since most of the bricks are stamped with serial numbers, the team was able to date the sea-weathered bricks and then compare them with identical unweathered bricks obtained from local collections.
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The findings showed that a single Lego brick can survive in the ocean for anywhere from 100 to 1,300 years before totally degrading. And it’s possible that these bricks might end up in oceans and turn into microplastics. According to Live Science, a science news website that features groundbreaking developments in science, space, technology, health, the environment, our culture and history, a UK insurance company has estimated that children flushed some 2.5 million Lego pieces down the toilet between 2006 and 2016. In 1997, 67 containers of Lego bricks or almost five million pieces were dumped from a cargo ship.
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The researchers also stated that many of the underwater Legos dated to the 1970s and 1980s have suffered noticeable decay. "The pieces we tested had smoothed and discolored, with some of the structures having fractured and fragmented, suggesting that as well as pieces remaining intact, they might also break down into microplastics," Turner said.