Home Features Ubiquitous Pollutant:  Microplastics are found in human blood in a study, understand the menace posed by Microplastics

Ubiquitous Pollutant:  Microplastics are found in human blood in a study, understand the menace posed by Microplastics

by Shatakshi Gupta

Microplastics are microscopic particles of plastics that are found everywhere. From oceans to mountain glaciers these pollutants have reached every nook of this world. Reports of Microplastics found in many living beings came to the fore in the past. Shockingly, now Microplastics are found in human blood as well.

In a study conducted by researchers from The Netherlands samples of 22 persons were examined. Among 22 people plastic particles were detected in 17 of them. A report on this work, published in The Guardian says that about half of these were PET (polyethylene tertraphthalate) plastics, which are commonly used to make food-grade bottles. In this context, it is important to know about this global potential health hazard.

Firstly, what are microplastics?

As the name suggests, microplastics are microscopic particles of plastics. It is impossible to see microplastic particles without a magnifying glass. Microplastics are small pieces of plastic sizing 5mm or less in size. Scientists are still trying to slash down the impact of these tiny particles. They are present in places such as water, food items, and the surface of the land.  Through them, they reach the body.

5 types of microplastics found in blood

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During the research, scientists have found 5 types of plastic in the blood of humans. These mainly include polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS), polyethylene (PE), and polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

The major source of Microplastics in humans is plastic water bottles and food packets. Apart from this, 23% of people were found to have polyethylene (PE), which is found in plastic bags. Only one person was found to have polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) and none of the blood samples contained polypropylene (PP).

How these microplastics enter human body?

Plastic can enter the human body through air as well as food and drink. Unknowingly we consume small plastic particles while eating, drinking water and breathing.

 Associated risks:

Microplastics are small in appearance, but they can lead to a variety of diseases. Microplastic particles can also travel throughout the human body. They can hinder in normal body functioning and pose lethal health dangers. The exact effects, however, of microplastics on human body are still under research.