Micro plastic particles are found in human blood for the first time, and the impact on health is still unclear


(Observer network news) From the poles of the earth to Mount Everest, there is no escape from the "magic claw" of plastic pollution. Now, even human blood is trapped.




A study published by Environment International on March 24 shows that scientists have detected micro plastic pollution in human blood for the first time. Some previous studies found microplastics in the brain, intestine, placenta of unborn infants, and feces of adults and infants, but never in blood samples.


Screenshot of related research

The study examined 22 anonymous healthy volunteers' blood samples and found that 77% of the samples contained microplastics, with an average concentration of 1.6 micrograms per milliliter.

Studies have shown that the absorption pathway of plastic particles detected in human blood may be through mucosal contact. Among them, the small particles inhaled may be absorbed and accumulated in the lungs, while most of the larger particles will eventually be swallowed due to cough and absorbed by intestinal epithelial cells.

Micro plastic fragments with a diameter of less than 5 mm are defined as micro plastics by domestic and foreign research. Although the impact of microplastics on human health is not clear, researchers worry that microplastics will cause damage to human cells. Previously, air pollution particles have been proved to enter the human body and cause millions of premature deaths every year.

Five kinds of plastics were tested: polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS), polyethylene (PE) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET).The results showed that about half of the blood samples showed traces of PET plastic, which was widely used to manufacture beverage bottles and mineral water bottles;

More than one third of blood samples contain PS, which is used in disposable food packaging materials and many other products; Another quarter of blood samples contain PE, which is used to make plastic bags.

What is more shocking is that researchers found up to three different types of microplastics in a blood sample.

The concentration of plastic particles in 22 blood samples is classified according to the type of polymer

The Guardian quoted one of the authors, Dick Vethaak, as saying that the number and type of plastic particles vary greatly in different blood samples. These differences may reflect that before blood samples were collected, the subject had been exposed to some plastics, such as drinking coffee in a plastic cup or using a plastic protective mask.

A study published last year showed that microplastics can attach to the outer membrane of red blood cells and may limit their ability to deliver oxygen. In addition, these granules were also found in the placenta of pregnant women; Because most baby bottles are made of plastic, the micro plastic content in baby's body is found to be the most; In pregnant mice, microplastics can quickly enter the heart, brain and other organs of the fetus through the lungs.

"Will the micro plastic particles remain in the human body all the time? Will they be transported to other organs through the blood brain barrier, etc.? Will diseases be caused when the content of the micro plastic particles reaches a certain level?" Visak said that these issues still need to be further explored.

Micro plastic pollution has attracted extensive attention.

人体血液中首次发现微塑料颗粒 对健康的影响尚不清楚

Data map

At present, more than 80 non-governmental organizations, scientists and members of Congress have requested the British government to allocate 15 million pounds to study the impact of plastics on human health; The European Union is already funding research on the effects of microplastics on fetuses, infants and the immune system.

Earlier this month, at the closing ceremony of the resumed fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly held in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, the participants celebrated the adoption of the Resolution on the Termination of Plastic Pollution (Draft), a legally binding resolution aimed at promoting global control of plastic pollution.

On March 2, 2021 local time, in Prige, southwest Serbia, garbage floats on the lake.




Source: Dai Lili, Editor in Charge of Observer Network_ NN4994

This article is reprinted from Netease News