Scientists have detected microplastic pollution in human blood. The tiny particles were found in nearly 80% of those tested.
This discovery suggests that particles can travel throughout the body and lodge in organs. It is not yet known what the impact will be on health. Researchers are concerned that microplastics can cause damage to human cells in a laboratory. Air pollution particles have been shown to enter the body, causing millions of premature deaths each year.
Plastic waste is a huge problem. Microplastics are now found all over the planet, from the top of Mount Everest to the deepest oceans. The tiny particles were known to be present in food and water, as well as in the feces of adults and babies.
Researchers analyzed blood samples taken from 22 healthy donors and found that plastic particles were present in 17. The scientists analyzed blood samples from 22 anonymous donors, all healthy adults, and found plastic particles in 17. Polyethylene, which is the main ingredient in plastic carrier bags, was found in 25% of blood samples.
Environment International published the new research. It used existing techniques to analyze and detect particles as small as 0.07mm. Some blood samples contained multiple types of plastic. To avoid contamination, the team used glass tubes and steel syringe needles. Blank samples were used to test for microplastics.
Vethaak acknowledged the fact that the amounts and types of plastic in blood samples varied significantly. He said that this was a pioneering study and more research is needed. The differences could be due to short-term exposure, such as using a plastic coffee cup or wearing a mask.
The Dutch National Organisation for Health Research and Development and Common Seas funded the new research, which is a social enterprise that works to reduce plastic pollution.
Recent research has shown that microplastics can attach to the outer membranes of red blood cells, limiting their ability to transport oxygen. They have been also found in the placentas in pregnant women and in rats in which they are rapidly passing through the lungs to the hearts, brains, and other organs of the fetuses.
[h/t]: The Guardian
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