Women health

   Microplastics Found in Human Blood 

Microplastics have been identified in human blood for the first time, raising concerns that the omnipresent particles are also making their way into organs.

The virtually undetectable plastic fragments have already been discovered almost everywhere on Earth, from the deep oceans to the highest peaks, as well as in the air, soil, and food chain.

Microplastics were discovered in nearly 80% of blood samples from 22 healthy individuals, according to a Dutch study published in the Environment International journal on Thursday.

PET plastic, which is frequently used in drink bottles, was found in half of the blood samples, while polystyrene, which is widely used in disposable food containers and other products, was found in more than a third.

According to Dick Vethaak, an ecotoxicologist at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, "this is the first time we've actually been able to detect and quantify" microplastics in human blood.

"This is confirmation that we have plastics in our bodies—and we shouldn't," he told AFP, urging for more investigation into the health implications.

"What's going on within your body? Is it possible to get rid of it? Excreted? Is it retained in specific organs, maybe accumulating, or can it potentially cross the blood-brain barrier?"

According to the study, microplastics might have entered the body by a variety of means, including air, water, and food, as well as kinds of toothpaste, lip glosses, and tattoo ink.

"It is scientifically feasible that plastic particles may go through the bloodstream to organs," the study concluded.

Vethaak also suggested that there could be additional types of microplastics in the blood that his study missed, such as particles larger than the diameter of the needle used to draw the sample.

The research was supported by the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development and Common Seas, a UK-based organization dedicated to eliminating plastic pollution.

The study "unequivocally" demonstrated the presence of microplastics in blood, according to Alice Horton, an anthropogenic pollutants scientist at the National Oceanography Center in the United Kingdom.

"This study adds to the growing body of data that plastic particles are not only pervasive in the environment, but also in our bodies," she told the Science Media Center.

Despite the limited sample size and absence of data on the participants' exposure levels, Fay Couceiro, a reader in biogeochemistry and environmental pollution at the University of Portsmouth, believes the study is "robust" and "will hold up to scrutiny."

She also suggested that more research be conducted.

"After all, blood connects all of our body's organs, and if there is plastic in us, it may be anywhere."

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