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Scientists find microplastics in human blood for the first time or come from disposable tableware from mineral water bottles

  As white pollution continues to increase in nature, it has become one of the increasingly serious global environmental problems. These plastics are ubiquitous in land, sea and even in the air, posing a serious threat to the ecological environment of the earth.
  According to the latest report “Global Plastics Outlook” released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in 2022, “In 2019, plastic waste will reach 353 million tons. Most of the plastic waste is landfilled, incinerated or leaked into the environment. Among them, microplastics It accounts for 12% of plastic leakage.”
  The “microplastics” mentioned above refer to polymers with a diameter of less than 5 mm, which are gradually evolved from the decomposition of plastic waste in the natural environment. Microplastic footprints have been found in marine organisms, in food, in soil, and in the air.

  In previous studies, scientists have even found microplastic components in human tissue and feces. Recently, for the first time, scientists have also discovered the presence of microplastics in the blood of humans for the first time. Research has shown that people “absorb” microplastics from the environment in their daily lives, and the levels of these microplastics can be measured in people’s blood.
  On March 24, 2022, a related paper was published under the title “Discovery and Quantification of Plastic Particle Pollution in Human Blood”.
  Alice Horton, an anthropogenic pollutants scientist at the UK’s National Oceanographic Centre, said: “This study clearly demonstrates the presence of microplastics in blood and helps to demonstrate that microplastics are not only found throughout the environment, but also in our bodies.”
  What does the presence of microplastics in human blood indicate? What potential impact will it have on the human body? Blood is the “river of life”. Can microplastics enter human organs through blood?
  In order to explore these questions, the team from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands used a series of analytical methods to determine the specific content of micro and nanoplastic particles in human blood.
  They analyzed and compared the blood samples of 22 healthy volunteers. According to the data, microplastic components were detected in 80% of the blood samples of the volunteers. Its average concentration is 1.6 micrograms per milliliter, which is equivalent to about one tablespoon of microplastics per 1 ton of water if quantified by comparison with objects in life.

  The researchers identified the specific components of microplastics in these blood samples through experiments, mainly polyethylene terephthalate, polystyrene, polyethylene, and polymethyl methacrylate.
  Among them, ethylene phthalate was detected in 50% of blood samples, and these microplastics came from plastic components in beverage bottles in people’s daily life, such as cola bottles, mineral water bottles, etc.; 36% of blood samples were detected in Polystyrene, which is derived from disposable tableware and other products; polyethylene, which is mainly from disposable plastic bags, was detected in 23% of blood samples; in addition to the above components, polymethyl methacrylate, polymethyl methacrylate, That is, acrylic, which is detected in relatively small amounts in blood samples.
  So how do these plastics get into human blood?
  For the specific source of microplastics, the researchers speculated that it entered the human body through various ways. In the paper, they explained that microplastics of 1 nanometer to 20 micrometers may come from the air, water or food, and then through the mucous membrane. But it is also present in personal care products such as toothpaste, dental polymer materials, lip gloss and tattoo ink residues.
  In other words, these ubiquitous daily necessities containing plastic components are very likely to become the “source” of microplastics in human blood. The study argues that “scientifically, plastic particles may be transported to organs through the bloodstream.”

  ”This is the first time that we have really been able to detect and quantify such microplastics in human blood,” Dick Vitak, an ecotoxicologist at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, told the media.
  The study detected microplastics in human blood for the first time. , which is the “first step” in studying the effects of microplastics on human health. Heather Leslie, lead author of the paper and a researcher at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam’s School of Environment and Health Sciences, said: “Plastic is everywhere, and now we know that it is not limited to the environment, but has entered our bloodstream. And this exposure The results of this study are not yet known.”
  At present, what the safe concentration of microplastics in human blood may be, and what the health effects of too much plastic are, are not clearly stated in the study. Whether microplastics will enter people’s various organs with blood, whether they will be completely decomposed, and what potential effects will they have? These are scientific research questions worthy of further exploration in the next step. Moreover, the samples in this study were only 22 volunteers, and research reports on further expanding the number of samples collected in the future are worth looking forward to.

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