Microplastics Found in Human Body, Scientists Warn


| LAST UPDATE 05/01/2022

By Hayden Katz
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Not so long ago, scientists discovered that the seafood we were consuming contained an abundance of plastic. According to scientists from Belgium, people who eat mussels end up ingesting nearly 11,000 plastic particles a year. Here's how microplastic can harm our bodies...

Microplastic gets tinier and tinier over time, and at some point, they become smaller than a single strand of human hair. A team at the U.K.'s University of Plymouth wanted to see the difference between eating contaminated, wild Scotland mussels to breathing regular air at home. What they discovered was that people consumed more plastic from floating particles in the air. In another investigation, scientists from the U.K. and Netherlands found tiny plastic particles inside human blood and deep inside the lungs of a surgical patient. A professor emeritus of ecotoxicology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Dick Vethaak, noted, "but, yes, we should be concerned. Plastics should not be in your blood." He continued, "We live in a multi-particle world."

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Microplastic can be found in dust, pollen, and soot that humans breathe in every day, "The trick is to figure out how much plastics contribute to that particle burden and what does that mean," Vethaak advised. While scientists have discovered that these particles are located nearly everywhere, they still aren't certain how harmful they can be. Scott Coffin, a research scientist at the California State Water Resources Control Board, was a part of a recent analysis that found more than 10,000 unique chemicals used in plastics - 2,400 of them are potentially a cause for concern.

Scientists are worried that the production of microplastics is continuing to grow, and yet we still do not have a handle on things. Biochemist at the Utah State University, Janice Brahney, who studies dust transports nutrients, pathogens, and contaminants, confessed that she is worried because plastic production is going up even though there are so many other microplastics we are unaware of. In 2020, 367 million metric tons of plastics were manufactured - an amount that is predicted to be tripled by 2050. “It is alarming because we are far into this problem, and we still don’t understand the consequences, and it is going to be very difficult to back out of it if we have to,” she said. While we know it is dangerous for our health, much more research needs to be conducted. Stay tuned.

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