(ORDO NEWS) — In ordinary European volunteers, microscopic particles of polyethylene, polystyrene and other synthetic polymers from dishes, clothes and packaging can be isolated from the blood.
In the last century, the advent of synthetic polymers has upended industry and people’s daily lives. From them began to mass-produce household items, dishes, packaging, clothing, and so on.
But only in recent years have we begun to realize the enormous damage that such materials have caused to nature and ourselves all this time. With each use – and especially when washing and washing – myriad miniature fragments are released from them, measuring a fraction of a millimeter.
Getting into the water and air, they spread everywhere, ending up on the ocean floor , and in the snow of Everest . Sooner or later, such particles enter the organisms of animals and begin their journey through food chains, accumulating with each next step.
Due to its tiny size, microplastics avoid most filters and cleaning systems, ending up in the human body. It is found both in the gastrointestinal tract and in the tissues of the placenta . Recently, scientists from the Netherlands isolated microsplast even from the blood of healthy people.
Marja Lamoree and her colleagues from the Free University of Amsterdam collected blood samples from 22 anonymous healthy volunteers, ordinary local residents. The test rooms were prepared and cleared of any extraneous sources of plastic contamination that might have affected the result.
The content of microplastics was determined using the Py-GC-MS method : pyrolysis (to decompose molecules into smaller and volatile ones), gas chromatography (to separate them into fractions) and mass spectrometry (to determine specific molecules).
Microplastics were found in 17 samples. The exact composition of these particles varied for different people, but the most common in them were polyethylene, polyethylene terephthalate (PET, aka lavsan – packaging, plastic bottles, clothes are made from it) and various forms of polystyrene (disposable tableware, toys, household appliances cases, etc. ).
On average, there were 1.6 micrograms of such particles for every milliliter of blood of volunteers, and the maximum exceeded seven micrograms.
The influence of these particles on human health has not yet been sufficiently studied, but it can be said for sure that they do not bode well. Animal studies are of concern: microplastics can accumulate in the most important tissues and organs, causing a variety of malfunctions.
Slowly disintegrating, they release toxic substances into the body, disrupting hormonal regulation, cell growth and development, leading to the development of blood clots and chronic inflammation.
However, the level of harm caused remains a matter of debate. Animal studies have used particle concentrations much higher than those found in reality. And the World Health Organization still does not consider microplastics in drinking water as a significant health threat.
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