OK – so we’ve all seen the horror images of whale, fish and bird stomachs blocked with plastic. Now it’s your turn. You’re ingesting microplastics but they are not lodging in your stomach… they’re in your organs!
“IN A FEW SHORT DECADES, WE’VE GONE FROM SEEING PLASTIC AS A WONDERFUL BENEFIT TO CONSIDERING IT A THREAT.”Charles Rolsky – Director of Science, Plastic Oceans International
New research is showing that microplastics are lodging in human tissues including our lungs, liver and kidneys!
A team from Arizona State University tested 47 samples of human organs, including lungs, liver, spleen, and kidneys. They found nanoplastic particles in all 47 samples!
According to Charles Rolsky, director of science for Plastic Oceans International, “You can find plastics contaminating the environment at virtually every location on the globe, and in a few short decades, we’ve gone from seeing plastic as a wonderful benefit to considering it a threat.”
Rolsky will be presenting the new research at an upcoming virtual meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS).
Using a mass spectrometer, he and his co-researchers found every tested sample to hold traces of polycarbonate (PC), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and polyethylene (PE), all common plastic substances. They also found traces of bisphenol A (BPA), a material used in food containers.
Microplastics are incredibly pervasive…
Microplastics are extremely pervasive throughout nature and have previously been found in the deepest points of our planet’s oceans. They have also been found in most seafood so you are ingesting it with your meal.
The research builds on previous work that has also shown that microplastics are making their way through our bodies. A 2019 study found that 97 percent of blood and urine samples collected from some 2,500 children in Germany between the ages of three and 17 showed toxic levels of plastic byproducts. A 2018 study showed similar results: 20 particles of plastic per ten grams of human stool samples.
The study offers unprecedented detail
The Arizona State work, though, offers an unprecedented level of detail.
“The tissue donors provided detailed information on their lifestyle, diet and occupational exposures,” Rolf Halden, PhD at Arizona State University who oversaw the research, said in the statement. “Because these donors have such well-defined histories, our study provides the first clues on potential micro- and nanoplastic exposure sources and routes.”
We still don’t fully know the health impact of plastics inside our bodies, let alone our organs.
“There’s evidence that plastic is making its way into our bodies, but very few studies have looked for it there,” Rolsky said. “And at this point, we don’t know whether this plastic is just a nuisance or whether it represents a human health hazard.”
We use plastics extensively in our kitchens. Many of us think nothing of microwaving our foods in plastics that are not suitable for that purpose. Oily foods are especially prone to melting the surface layers of plastics.
Using glass and ceramic containers may be one way to reduce the amount of plastic you are swallowing.