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View Full Version : Microplastic particles now discoverable in human organs



Maciamo
18-08-20, 09:22
The Guardian: Microplastic particles now discoverable in human organs (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/aug/17/microplastic-particles-discovered-in-human-organs)

"Microplastic and nanoplastic particles are now discoverable in human organs thanks to a new technique.

Microplastics have polluted the entire planet, from Arctic snow (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/aug/14/microplastics-found-at-profuse-levels-in-snow-from-arctic-to-alps-contamination) and Alpine soils (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/27/the-hills-are-alive-with-the-signs-of-plastic-even-swiss-mountains-are-polluted) to the deepest oceans (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/20/plastic-pollution-mariana-trench-deepest-point-ocean). People are also known to consume them via food (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jun/05/people-eat-at-least-50000-plastic-particles-a-year-study-finds) and water (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/06/plastic-fibres-found-tap-water-around-world-study-reveals), and to breathe (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/dec/27/revealed-microplastic-pollution-is-raining-down-on-city-dwellers) them in, but the potential impact on human health is not yet known.

The researchers expect to find the particles in human organs and have identified chemical traces of plastic in tissue. But isolating and characterising such minuscule fragments is difficult, and contamination from plastics in the air is also a challenge.

To test their technique, they added particles to 47 samples of lung, liver, spleen and kidney tissue obtained from a tissue bank established to study neurodegenerative diseases. Their results showed that the microplastics could be detected in every sample."

[...]

"The analytical method developed allows the researchers to identify dozens of types of plastic, including the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) used in plastic drinks bottles and the polyethylene used in plastic bags.


They found bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical used to make plastics, in all 47 samples. The US Environmental Protection Agency is concerned about BPA (https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/may/24/bisphenols-bpa-everyday-toxics-guide) because “it is a reproductive, developmental and systemic toxicant in animal studies”. The researchers examined lung, liver, spleen and kidney tissue as these organs are likely to be exposed to microplastics or collect them."

[...]

"Microplastics are those less than 5mm in diameter and nanoplastics have a diameter of less than 0.001mm. Both form largely from the abrasion of larger pieces of plastic dumped into the environment. Research in wildlife and laboratory animals has linked exposure to tiny plastics to infertility, inflammation and cancer."


[...]
"Previous studies have shown people eat and breathe in at least 50,000 particles (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jun/05/people-eat-at-least-50000-plastic-particles-a-year-study-finds) of microplastic a year and that microplastic pollution is raining down on city dwellers (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/dec/27/revealed-microplastic-pollution-is-raining-down-on-city-dwellers), with London, UK, having the highest level of four cities analysed last year. The particles can harbour toxic chemicals and harmful microbes and are known to harm some marine (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/30/mussels-lose-grip-when-exposed-to-microplastics-study) creatures (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/dec/02/microplastic-pollution-harms-lugworms-sea-oceans).


Other work has shown different kinds of nanoparticles from air pollution are present in human hearts (https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jul/12/billions-of-air-pollution-particles-found-in-hearts-of-city-dwellers) and brains (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/sep/05/toxic-air-pollution-particles-found-in-human-brains-links-alzheimers), and have been linked to brain cancer (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/nov/13/air-pollution-particles-linked-to-brain-cancer-in-new-research)."


The World Health Organization released last year a 124-page report (https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/326499/9789241516198-eng.pdf?ua=1) on microplastics in drinking water.

In 2018, another study (https://www.livescience.com/62035-microplastics-bottled-water.html) tested 250 bottles from 11 bottled water brands revealed microplastics in 93 percent of the samples, with an average of 325 particles per liter (34 ounces) of water.