Small plastic particles, called microplastics – a major source of pollution – have been detected in human blood for the first time. It was detected in nearly 80 percent of the samples tested by a group of researchers from the Netherlands. This finding is particularly important because it suggests that microplastics can move throughout the body and may nest inside organs. Although scientists do not yet know the long-term effects of these particles on health, but are concerned about the rising levels of pollution around the world.
Microplastics are small pieces of plastic that are less than 0.2 inches (5mm) in diameter.
The researchers analyzed blood samples from 22 anonymous donors and found microplastics in 17 of them, according to research published in the journal Environment International.
Half of these samples had PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate), which is used to make beverage bottles. Polystyrene, widely used in food packaging, was found in 36 percent and polyethylene, used in films and packaging bags, was found in 23 percent of the samples, according to the research.
Its levels are low – 1.6 micrograms (1.6 million grams) in every milliliter of blood – but enough to raise an alarm.
“It is reasonable to worry. The particles are there and transported throughout the body,” said Prof Dick Vethaak, an ecotoxicologist at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and lead author of the study. Guardian.
He said that the study had produced “breakthrough results” but added that the sample size and number of polymers studied needed to be increased.
According to researchers, plastic particles can enter the human body from the air as well as through food and drink, reports The Independent.
The publication also spoke with Professor Vethaak, who said such particles can cause chronic inflammation.
“Good home ventilation is important because the concentration of microplastics appears to be higher inside the house than outside. I also cover my food and drinks to reduce the deposition of plastic particles, ”added the researcher.
Preliminary research found microplastics in the brain, intestines and placenta of unborn babies, but never before in human blood samples, according to The Daily Mail.
Plastic is one of the major pollutants on the planet. Large amounts of plastic waste are dumped from the mountains into the ocean. In January last year, microplastics were found in fish and other seafood samples from the Sal Estuary in Goa.
A study, led by senior scientist Dr Mahua Saha, showed the presence of microplastics in water, sediments and local animal and plant life from the estuary.