Microplastics, like their name suggests are commonly found in the environment. definedas plastic particles with a diameter of five millimeters or less. They often contain chemicals that can cause illnesses such as cancer infertilityExperts agree that microplastics should not be present in our bodies. However, they admit that it is difficult to quantify their exact impact. More importantly, because plastic is used in a wide range of commonly used products, microplastics are absolutely everywhere — even in the plants that we eat, which can absorb them through their roots.
Now, a new studyMicroplastics may be found in the blood of more than three quarters of people.
Published in the journal Environment International, the researchers did not have a large cohort of patients — only 22. While this limits the widespread applicability of their findings, it is nevertheless “reasonable to be concerned” as Prof. Dick Vethaak, an ecotoxicologist at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands and co-author of the paper, told The Guardian. All the donors were healthy adults, but 17 (more than 75%) had plastic particles in their blood. Half of the donors had polyethylene terephthalate which is used in plastic drinking containers. The other third had polymers of Styrene which are often used in food packaging.
It raises serious concerns about the safety and health of children if the percentages are so high for adults. Vethaak said that the percentages are also high in adults. The Guardian that previous work had found microplastics were 10 times higher in babies’ feces than adult feces, a statistic he attributes to babies being fed with plastic bottles. These findings raise questions about how effective the body is at filtering out harmful chemicals.
“This indicates that at least some of the plastic particles humans come in contact with can be bioavailable and that the rate of elimination via e.g. the biliary tract, kidney or transfer to and deposition in organs is slower than the rate of absorption into the blood,” the authors write in their conclusion. They also mention that this could lead patients to become immunocompromised. This matter was brought up by the authors, who urged other scholars.
“If plastic particles present in the bloodstream are indeed being carried by immune cells, the question also arises, can such exposures potentially affect immune regulation or the predisposition to diseases with an immunological base?” the authors ask.
Because plastic companies do not disclose all chemicals in their products, scientists cannot be certain how microplastics can affect human health.
“Plastic is a byproduct of petrochemical manufacturers,” Jacqueline Doremus, an Assistant Professor of Economics at Cal Poly, told Salon last year. “Decreases in demand for oil and gas mean producers betting on plastic. Researchers, the public and regulators are still unaware of more than three quarters (or all) of plastic additives. These additives are either protected intellectual property or improperly documented. So we have two forces at work: strong incentives for a powerful industry to increase plastic production and a poor understanding of the sometimes toxic additives they use.”
Plastics contain dangerous chemicals. phthalates, which can cause cancer and make plastics brittle, and BisphenolsThese plastics are hardened by chemicals called phenols, which can lead to reproductive health issues. Plastics can be found all over the globe, from the bottom of the ocean to the tops Rocky Mountains and Pyrenees Mountains. They are also found in animals throughout the food chain, including microorganisms, fish, turtles, whales, and turtles. Studies have shown that Americans consume a lot of them due to their ubiquitous nature. credit card worth of plastic each week. Plastic pollution is also partly responsible for the rapid drop in human numbers sperm countsThis began in the 1970s and could lead later in this century to an infertility crisis.