Reprinted from: Institute of Biodegradable Materials

The Institute of Biodegradable Materials reported that recently, the harm of microplastics has gradually been paid attention to, and related studies have emerged one after another, which have been found in human blood, excrement and the depths of the ocean. However, in a recent study completed by Hull York Medical College in the United Kingdom, researchers have found microplastics in the depths of the lungs of living people for the first time.

The study, published in the journal General Environmental Science, is the first robust study to identify plastics in the lungs of living people.

“Microplastics have been found in human autopsy samples before — but this is the first of a robust study showing microplastics in the lungs of living people,” said Dr. Laura Sadofsky, Senior Lecturer in Respiratory Medicine and lead author of the paper. , “The airways in the lungs are very narrow, so no one thought they could possibly get there, but they obviously did.×116.jpg

The world produces about 300 million tons of plastic each year, about 80% of which ends up in landfills and other parts of the environment. Microplastics can range in diameter from 10 nanometers (smaller than the human eye can see) to 5 millimeters, about the size of an eraser on the end of a pencil. Tiny particles can float in the air, in tap or bottled water, and in the ocean or soil.

Some previous research results on microplastics:

A 2018 study found plastic in stool samples after subjects were fed a regular diet wrapped in plastic.

A 2020 paper examined tissue from the lungs, liver, spleen and kidneys and found plastic in all of the samples studied.

Research published in March detected plastic particles in human blood for the first time.

A new study recently conducted by academics at the Medical University of Vienna also showed that drinking plastic bottled water year-round could result in the intake of nearly 100,000 microplastic and nanoplastic (MNP) particles per person per year.×116.jpg

The current study, however, sought to build on previous work by finding microplastics in lung tissue by harvesting tissue during surgery in living patients.

The analysis revealed that 11 of the 13 samples studied contained microplastics and detected 12 different types. These microplastics include polyethylene, nylon and resins commonly found in bottles, packaging, clothing and linen. rope and other manufacturing processes.

The male samples had significantly higher levels of microplastics than the female samples. But what really surprised scientists was where these plastics appeared, with more than half of the microplastics found in the lower parts of the lungs.

“We didn’t expect to find high numbers of microplastic particles in the deeper areas of the lung, or to find particles of this size,” Sadofsky said. It was thought that particles of this size would be filtered out or trapped before getting so deep.”

Scientists consider airborne plastic particles ranging from 1 nanometer to 20 microns to be inhalable, and this study provides more evidence that inhalation provides them with a direct route into the body. Like recent similar findings in the field, it raises a very important question: What are the implications for human health?

Experiments by scientists in the lab have shown that microplastics can disaggregate and change shape in human lung cells, with more general toxic effects on the cells. But this new understanding will help guide deeper research into its effects.

“Microplastics have been found in human autopsy samples before — this is the first robust study to show that there are microplastics in the lungs of living people,” Sadofsky said. “It also shows that they are in the lower part of the lungs. The airways of the lungs are very It’s narrow, so no one thought they might get there, but they’ve clearly gotten there. The characterization of the types and levels of microplastics we found can now inform real-world conditions for laboratory exposure experiments with the aim of determining health effects.”

“It’s proof that we have plastic in our bodies – we shouldn’t,” Dick Vethaak, an ecotoxicologist at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, told AFP.

In addition, the study noted “increasing concern” about the possible harms of ingesting and inhaling microplastics.

Post time: Apr-14-2022