Race to identify health effects of microplastics

Race to identify health effects of microplastics

Posted by BN on 30th Jun 2023

Nova whole House Filters remove microplastics

Tiny pieces of plastic have been found littered throughout human bodies, trapped in our lungs and laced through our blood, but the long-term health effects of this exposure remain unclear.

Every day humans ingest, inhale or otherwise come in contact with microplastics, plastic pollution less than five millimetres (0.2 inches) in diameter that is mostly invisible to the naked eye.

Microplastics have been found most everywhere on Earth, from the deepest oceans to the highest mountains, as well as in the air, water, soil and food chain.

But in the last couple of years scientists have discovered microplastics not just throughout nature but also throughout human bodies, detecting it in lungs, livers -- even in placentas.

Research has shown that microplastics have a range of detrimental effects on the health of animals, including an increase in inflammation, oxidative stress and damage to cells.

"Both in human and mice lung tissues, we have seen an inhibitory effect on development after putting plastic fibres inside organoids, mini-lungs grown" from stem cells, said Barbro Melgert, a respiratory immunologist at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.

"This effect seemed not to be caused by the plastic itself, but by something leaking from the (plastic particles), some chemicals added"