Microplastics first discovered in human placenta

(ORDO NEWS) — The accumulation of such particles in living organisms and food products is one of the main environmental problems of the modern world.

For the first time, Italian scientists have discovered microplastic particles in the placenta, both in maternal tissues and on the fetal side. Previously, this type of plastic pollution was detected only in the human gastrointestinal tract.

Microplastics are particles of plastic no larger than five millimeters in size. It is formed from the decomposition of larger plastic waste, but is sometimes produced in this form immediately.

The accumulation of such particles in living organisms and food products is one of the main environmental problems of the modern world. These granules are perceived by the body as foreign and can cause allergic or inflammatory reactions.

A group of researchers from Italy, led by Alessandro Svelato, decided to test whether microplastics can enter the placenta and accumulate in this organ. For the study, six healthy women were selected who agreed to provide their biomaterials for study.

For the purity of the experiment, the process of childbirth in the subjects took place in such a way as to minimize their contact with any types of plastic. So, obstetricians used cotton gloves, and the umbilical cord was cut with metal, not plastic scissors.

Microplastics first discovered in human placenta 2

Immediately after delivery and separation of the placentas, these organs were cut into small pieces and divided into three parts (tissues from the side of the child, tissues of the woman in labor and the amniotic membrane itself).

Scientists studied biomaterial samples using Raman microspectroscopy, a method that allows you to determine the molecular composition of a substance from its emission spectrum under the influence of laser beams.

Microgranules of plastic were found in four of the six placentas studied, moreover, in all their parts – both maternal and child. In total, 12 particles were found, three of which turned out to be polypropylene, and from the rest it was possible to determine only the accompanying dyes-pigments.

Thus, it turned out that microplastics are able to reach the tissues of the placenta at all levels. It is noteworthy that experts analyzed small portions of the placenta – an average of 23 grams with a total organ weight of about 600 grams. This suggests that the number of particles in the entire placenta is much higher.

Previously, scientists have calculated how many microplastic particles enter the body of a child from feeding bottles and managed to create “plastic gold”.

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