Microplastics Found in Human Blood For First Time
By: April Carson
Human blood has previously been found to contain microplastics, raising concerns that they may be making their way into organs as well. But a new study has found microplastics in human blood for the first time.
Tiny particles of mostly unseen plastic have already been discovered in nearly every nook and cranny on Earth, from the deepest oceans to the highest mountains, as well as in the air, soil, and food chain.
A research published in the Environment International journal on Thursday examined blood samples from 22 anonymous, healthy individuals and discovered microplastics in nearly 80% of them.
Dr. Juan Conesa of the University of Granada in Spain, said that while the health implications of this discovery are still unknown, it's important to continue studying the potential risks.
"We need to know if they are harmful, because at the moment we do not know," he said in a statement.
More than a third of the blood samples contained polystyrene, which is often used to make drink bottles. PET plastic was detected in half of the blood samples, which is commonly utilized in the production of drink bottles.
This is the first time we've been able to find and quantify microplastics in human blood, according to Dick Vethaak, an ecotoxicologist at Amsterdam's Vrije Universiteit.
Vethaak said the findings were worrying.
"This is proof that we have plastics in our bodies—and we shouldn't," he said, appealing for more study to figure out how it affects health. "We need to know what this means for human health."
"Is it going anywhere in your body? Is it possible to get rid of it? Is it excreted? Is it retained in specific organs, growing perhaps, or is it even capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier?"
The microplastics may have entered the body via a variety of pathways, according to the study: air, water, or food, as well as certain personal care items such as toothpastes, lip glosses, and tattoo inks.
The researchers also said that "plastic particles may be carried to organs via the circulation," and that it is "technically possible" for them to do so.
Vethaak added that while the tiny plastic fragments his research detected were most likely microplastics, there might be additional forms not discovered in this experiment. It's possible that particles greater than the width of the needle used to draw blood were missed as well.
The research was carried out under the aegis of two international organizations, the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (NOHRD) and Common Seas, which works to reduce plastic pollution.
Alice Horton, anthropogenic contaminants scientist at Britain's National Oceanography Center, said the study "unequivocally" proved there was microplastics in blood.
"This study adds to the evidence that plastic particles have infiltrated not just the environment, but also our bodies," she added.
Despite the fact that the study only examined a small group of people, and lacked data on participants' exposure levels, Fay Couceiro felt it was "robust and will withstand critical analysis."
She also called for further research.
"The human body is a system of interconnected organs, and if plastic or other toxins are found in any one area it could be transported to another part."
The study calls for more research into the effects of microplastics on human health, as the potential implications are still unknown.
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About the Blogger:
April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav
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