Saturday July 21, 2018

Plastic Found in 83% Drinking Water on Five Continents, Nobody is Safe

While the health impact of ingesting plastics are unclear, it is not something you would want to consume

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A shelf full of various kinds of bottled water is pictured at a supermarket in Beijing. (VOA)
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  • Tiny particles of degraded plastic called microplastics found in drinking water
  • Consumption of microplastics by fishes are known to stunt growth, inhibit hatching of eggs and increase mortality rates
  • The tiny pieces of plastic have been found in both, public taps and bottled water

London, September 7, 2017 : Tiny pieces of plastic have been found in drinking water on five continents – from Trump Tower in New York to a public tap on the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda – posing a potential risk to people’s health, researchers said on Wednesday.

Plastic degrades over time into tiny particles known as microplastics, which were found in 83 percent of samples from Germany to Cuba to Lebanon analyzed by U.S.-based digital news organization Orb Media.

“If you ask people whether they want to be eating or drinking plastic, they just say, ‘No, that’s a dumb question,’ ” said Sherri Mason, one of study’s authors and a chemistry professor at the State University of New York.

“It’s probably not something that we want to be ingesting, but we are, whether through our drinking water, through beer, juice. It’s in our food, sea salt, mussels. Nobody is safe,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Microplastics of up to 5 millimeters are also in bottled water, she said.

The health impact of ingesting plastics are unclear, but studies on fish have shown they inhibit hatching of fertilized eggs, stunt growth and make them more susceptible to predators, increasing mortality rates.

Microplastics absorb toxic chemicals from the marine environment, which are released into the bodies of fish and mammals who consume them, Orb Media’s chief executive, Molly Bingham, said in a statement.

While many studies have shown the prevalence of microplastics in the world’s oceans, where more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic are floating, it is the first time research has been conducted into drinking water. (VOA)

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Prenatal Exposure to Plastic Chemical may Reduce Cognitive Skills

As the mPFC is crucial for high-level cognitive functions, reduced cognitive flexibility is observed in developmental disorders such as autism

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The findings are important as humans may be regularly exposed to a variety of phthalates, which are endocrine-disrupting chemicals
The findings are important as humans may be regularly exposed to a variety of phthalates, which are endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Pixabay

Prenatal or early exposure of your kids to a plastic chemical may harm brain development as well as reduce cognitive function, a study says.

Phthalates — chemicals that belong to the same class as Bisphenol A (BPA) and used in food packaging and processing materials — can potentially interfere with hormones important for the developing brain.

The study by researchers including Janice Juraska, from the University of Illinois in the US, showed that rats’ prenatal and early exposure to phthalates was associated with smaller medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) — brain region responsible for deep and dreamless sleep.

They also performed poorly on an attention-switching task than those not exposed to the chemicals early in life.

As the mPFC is crucial for high-level cognitive functions, reduced cognitive flexibility is observed in developmental disorders such as autism
As the mPFC is crucial for high-level cognitive functions, reduced cognitive flexibility is observed in developmental disorders such as autism. Pixabay

The findings, published in Journal of Neuroscience, showed that perinatal phthalate exposure resulted in a reduction in neuron number, synapse number, size of the mPFC and a deficit in cognitive flexibility for both male and female adult offspring of these rats.

As the mPFC is crucial for high-level cognitive functions, reduced cognitive flexibility is observed in developmental disorders such as autism.

Also Read: thyroid Dysfunction May Lead to Diabetes During Pregnancy

The results show that perinatal phthalate exposure can have long-term effects on the cortex and behaviour of both male and female rats.

The findings are important as humans may be regularly exposed to a variety of phthalates, which are endocrine-disrupting chemicals, the researchers warned. (IANS)