Microplastics found in human blood for first time 3 months ago

Microplastics found in human blood for first time

Yet another concerning consequence of our over-reliance on plastic

Microplastics have been found in human blood for the first time in an alarming discovery made by Dutch scientists.

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As per a study conducted by researchers at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the Amsterdam University Medical Centre, a "quantifiable" amount of tiny plastic particles were found in 17 of 22 volunteers (77 per cent).

Their findings were published in Environment International journal and first reported by The Guardian. While traces were low - an average of 1.6 micrograms (1.6 millionths of a gram) in every millilitre of blood - their mere presence in the bloodstream could pose long-term health risks.

The most likely cause is that these microplastics were most commonly either inhaled or ingested while eating and drinking from plastic containers, though variables such as personal care products and even dental polymers and tattoo ink could factor in.

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The most common detected plastic was PET (polyethylene terephthalate), which is used to make drinks bottles, found in as much as 50 per cent of the volunteers.

This was followed by polystyrene - widely used in food packaging - which was found in 36 per cent of volunteers; polyethene, which is used in packaging films and plastic bags, was also found in approximately 23 per cent of the participants.

While no previous scientific studies have been able to detect plastics in human blood, given that they are "ubiquitous pollutants in the living environment and food chain", the fact they were also found in such high frequency is a cause for concern.

Another recent study found that not only can microplastics cause inflammation and cell damage but that these traces can attach themselves to red blood cells and potentially inhibit their ability to carry oxygen.

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Experts have already pushed for “more detailed research on how micro - and nano - plastics affect the structures and processes of the human body", the fear being that they might "transform cells and induce carcinogenesis", adding that given the "exponential increase in plastic production... the problem is becoming more urgent with each day.”

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