Despite all the efforts from scientists, doctors and government officials in the last decades to lower the use of plastic in our everyday lives, we use so much plastic that we apparently reached a point of no return, or at least that’s what it looks like since the production and use of plastic is increasing every year.
While plastic is known to be one of the major toxic pollutants and one of the biggest threats to the vegetation, human and animal health, a recent study found that the issue might be much more serious after microplastic pollution has been detected in human blood for the first time ever and tiny particles were found in nearly 8 out of 10 people’s blood samples.
The results of the recent study, which is the first ever study to use Py-GC/MS for plastic particle analysis of whole human blood, showed that microplastic pollution was detected in 77% of those tested meaning that nearly 8 out of 10 people have plastic in their blood.
While the impact on health still remains unknown for scientists, the discovery shows the particles can travel around the body and may lodge in organs. What scientists and researchers already know is that microplastics cause damage to human cells in the laboratory and air pollution particles are already known to enter the body and cause millions of early deaths a year.
Since this is the first ever study of its kind and many things are yet to be discovered, researchers were not able to provide much more details, but the authors of the study confirmed plastic particles can enter the body from the air as well as through food and drink which seems to be very concerning on a long term.
The study showed that the most prevalent form of plastic in the human bloodstream is PET plastic, plastic most commonly used to produce drinks bottles, food packaging and clothes. After PET, polystyrene, which is used to make a wide variety of household products, was the most commonly found plastic in the blood samples tested. The third most widely found plastic in blood was polyethylene, a material regularly used in the production of plastic carrier bags.
The results of the study are devastating for experts who claim that the amount of plastic found in the human body is nothing but alarming because that clearly shows how much plastic we regularly ingest or inhale. In addition, they are worried that such particles can cause chronic inflammation.
“This research found that almost eight in 10 of people tested had plastic particles in their blood. But it doesn’t tell us what’s a safe or unsafe level of plastic particle presence. How much is too much? We urgently need to fund further research so we can find out. As our exposure to plastic particles increases, we have a right to know what it’s doing to our bodies,” Dick Vethaak, professor of ecotoxicology and water quality and health at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands told Independent.
Prof. Vethaak added he and his family had cut down their own exposure to plastics once he saw the results of the study. He says he managed to achieve that by avoiding single-use plastic packaging and food and drinks packaged in plastic. Since these tiny plastic pieces are more common indoors, the professor advises everyone to use a good ventilation and cover open food and drink when possible.