For the first time, microplastic-like particles have been found in human blood
. The researchers examined blood samples from 22 healthy adults and found traces of microplastics in 17 of them. Half of the samples were PET plastic commonly used in beverage bottles, one third polystyrene, which is used to package food and other items. A quarter of the blood samples contained polyethylene, from which the plastic bag was made.
This discovery shows that particles can travel throughout the body and stay in organs. But researchers are concerned that microplastics could enter the body and cause millions of premature deaths each year, causing damage to human cells.
It’s an astonishing discovery, but we all join as scientists rush to uncover the potential health effects.
Microplastics are everywhere on Planet Earth
A huge amount of plastic waste is dumped into the environment and microplastics are currently polluting the entire planet, from the top of Mount Everest to the deepest oceans. Humans have been known to ingest small particles through food and water and breathe them in, and they have been found in the feces of children and adults.
“Our study is the first sign that we have polymers in our blood – it’s a groundbreaking result,“Professor Dick Vethaak, an ecological toxicologist at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands.”But we had to expand the study and increase the sample size, the number of polymers evaluated, etc.“He also said that further studies have been done on this result.
“It is certainly reasonable to be concerned,“Vethaak said Guardians. “The particles stay there and are transported throughout the body.“He also said that previous work has shown that microplastics are 10 times higher in the feces of infants than in adults, and that children fed with plastic bottles are swallowing millions of microplastics every day.
“In general, we also know that infants and young children are more vulnerable to chemicals and particles,“he say.”That worries me a lot.“
The great impact of microplastics
Scientists are increasingly vocal about the potential health impacts of microplastics, both on humans and on wildlife. These plastics contain chemicals that are believed to mimic and alter our natural hormones, which can even be harmful or disruptive to children. Some studies have also suggested that the accumulation of these plastics may also have the potential to directly damage human cells. In 2020, a major report made by environmental and hormone researchers declared that plastic is a global health threat.
At the same time, the researchers caution that the findings are based on a very small sample size, although they say other research groups are already planning larger studies to confirm the results. There is also wide variation in the amount of plastic that can be found in people’s blood. And while some studies have found a link between plastic exposure and various conditions like inflammatory bowel disease, type 2 diabetes and even cancer, the exact extent of the harm plastic has yet to be identified.
“The big question is what’s going on in our bodies?“Vethaak said.”Are the particles retained in the body? Are they transported to certain organs, such as across the blood-brain barrier? And are these levels high enough to trigger disease? We urgently need funding for further studies so we can find out.“
“Plastic production is set to double by 2040,“Jo Royle, founder of the Common Seas charity.”We have a right to know all this plastic does to our bodies.“Common Seas, together with more than 80 NGOs, scientists and doctors, is asking the UK government to allocate £15 million for research into the impact of plastic on human health. EU. funded research on the effects of microplastics on fetuses and infants, and on the immune system.
A recent study found that microplastics can adhere to the outer membranes of red blood cells and limit their ability to carry oxygen. The particles are also found in the placenta of pregnant women, and in pregnant rats, they travel rapidly through the lungs to the heart, brain, and other organs of the fetus.
A new review paper, co-authored by Vethaak, assessed cancer risk and concluded, “More detailed research into how micro and nanoplastics affect the structure and processes of the human body, and whether they can transform cells and produce carcinogens, is needed. necessary, especially in the context of exponential growth in plastic production. The problem is becoming more urgent every day.“Also, because there are so many threats to public health, there’s no time to waste.
This new study was funded by the Netherlands’ National Foundation for Health Research and Development and the Common Sea, a social enterprise that works to reduce plastic pollution.