Microplastics

Microplastics are in the heart, lungs, penis, breast milk. Can we keep them out of our bodies?

Researchers in Ireland explain how plastic increasingly finds its way into places it shouldn’t and analyse the detrimental effectsMicroplastics were found in human lungs and blood. Then, they were found in the human heart. The kidneys, too, have been identified as having microplastics in its tissue. So, too, has the penis, the placenta and even breast milk.

Michael McGrath: ‘Nothing is ever as it seems. We’ve ended up with seven children, but we had loss along the way’ “Another pathway is directly through inhalation. The indoor and outdoor air has microplastic pollution and one of the major sources are car tyres. Also, the artificial grass also releases a lot of microplastics in the air.”Dr Xu said dermal contact – through creams and cosmetic products – is also a method of transmission, though this is considered a “a lower likelihood than inhalation and ingestion”.

“The problem is when the particle size gets small, these particles can start going places. There are all sorts of barriers in your body membranes and small particles can pass through membranes,” he says. These patients were also more likely to die over the next three years than people who had no microplastics in their carotid arteries, the major blood vessels that provide blood supply to the brain. Prof Boland says the findings of the study was one of the “scariest” things he has read in this area.

Exposure to infants is 10 times higher compared to adults. And supposedly they are more vulnerable. When babies are born they are surrounded by plastic products“It’s basically because it’s not like other chemical hazards, microplastics are extremely complex. For some hazards like BPA, we know that the only determinant for toxicity is the dose. So the higher the dose, the higher the toxicity,” she says.

“The situations will get worse before they get better. The amount of microplastics in the human body is anticipated to increase.” Recycling is one such option, according to Dr Xu, though she believes the pollution of bodies by plastic is “kind of inevitable”. “You think it’s great using the same container over and over again, but you’ve probably noticed if you look at the inside of a container, it starts getting rough and that’s because you’re losing material all the time.”

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