Friday January 24, 2020

Microplastics Found In 100 Percent Of Humans Studied: Research

Plastic is apparently showing up in all of us

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Microplastics, plastic, EU
Plastic bottles and other plastics, including a mop, lie washed up on the bank of the River Thames in London, Britian. (Representational image). VOA

In the first study of its kind, Austrian researchers have tracked the movement of microplastics into human beings. The results show that the plastic that is a ubiquitous element of human life is now also a constant element in the human body.

The research was presented at this week at UEG Week in Vienna, Austria, the largest gastroenterology meeting in Europe.

Follow the plastics

Two Austrian researchers, Dr. Philipp Schwabl from the Medical University of Vienna, and Dr. Bettina Liebmann, from the Environment Agency Austria, studied participants from countries including Finland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, the UK and Austria.

Microplastics are particles of plastic less than 5 mm in size. They are often tiny plastic beads that are put in cosmetic products. A few nations, including the U.S., the UK and South Korea, have banned microbeads. But microplastics also are created when larger pieces of plastic break down over time, and plastic in general is everywhere. The U.N. estimates that about 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in the world’s oceans every year. And the World Economic Forum estimated that Americans threw away over 33 million metric tons of plastic in 2014.

Microplastics
Courtesy – Philipp Schwabl. VOA

But this study, which was small, suggests that plastic, whether it’s bad for us or not, is already in all of us.

Study participants were asked to keep a food diary for seven days prior to taking part in the test. Then they turned over stool samples to the researchers who then looked for microplastics.

And they found them. Every single stool sample tested positive for the presence of microplastic, and up to nine different plastic types were identified.

Where is the plastic coming from? In the cases of this study, the plastic that showed up in people is associated with eating plastic wrapped foods, and drinking from plastic bottles. But most of the participants also ate fish, so Schwabl says that right now, “no exact conclusion on plastic origin can be made” on exactly where the plastic is coming from. Future studies should narrow that down.

Microplastics
Courtesy – Philipp Schwabl. VOA

What is it doing to us?

So is all that plastic making us sick? Schwabl says, for now, there are no definitive studies that suggest a danger to humans. But he says that in “animal studies, it has been shown that microplastics may cause intestinal damage, remodeling of the intestinal villi, distortion of iron absorption and hepatic stress.”

And the concern is “what this means to us, and especially patients with gastrointestinal diseases,” Schwabl says. “While the highest plastic concentrations in animal studies have been found in the gut, the smallest microplastic particles are capable of entering the blood stream, lymphatic system and may even reach the liver.”

Also Read: A Data Project to Predict Human Trafficking Before It Occurs By Corporate Giants

He was surprised, he says, to find that plastic is apparently showing up in all of us, and he expects the amount collecting in our bodies to keep increasing, unless the world drastically changes its use of plastic. (VOA)

Next Story

Bollywood Actress Bhumi Pednekar Urges People To Avoid Single Use Of Plastics

She had shared a few pictures along with the post, which show her cleaning up plastics and garbage at a Mumbai beach

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Bhumi
The actress, who is also a climate change warrior, keeps writing against single use of plastics on social media. Wikimedia Commons

Bollywood actress Bhumi Pednekar wants everyone to avoid single use of plastics. A climate change warrior, Bhumi took to Instagram to spread the word.

She shared a photo that shows her on Monday morning, sipping a shake from a glass bottle with a reusable straw. The actress captioned: “Everyday is a new day And life is all about those baby steps. Am trying to use no #SingleUsePlastic, you should too, Together we can make this world better #HappyMonday #ReusableStraws #goodmorning #hello”.

The actress, who is also a climate change warrior, keeps writing against single use of plastics on social media.

In an Instagram post earlier this month, Bhumi shared shocking figures to reveal the quantity of plastic waste in India, and urged everyone to use recycled plastic.

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Bollywood actress Bhumi Pednekar wants everyone to avoid single use of plastics. A climate change warrior, Bhumi took to Instagram to spread the word. IANS

“It’s our mess to clean #happynewyear. India generates 25940 tonnes of plastic waste everyday,of 10376 tonnes is uncollected plastic. Start segregating your garbage at home. Make sure you recycle plastic. We have to co exist with nature #circulareconomy #climatechange #plasticpollution #garbagesegregation,” she wrote.

She had shared a few pictures along with the post, which show her cleaning up plastics and garbage at a Mumbai beach.

ALSO READ: “I Want To Explore More Genres As An Actor”, Says Actress Kriti Sanon

Bhumi has also been vocal about the devastating bushfire in South Australia. (IANS)