According to “alarming” new research, the world’s first study to investigate the presence of plastics in human blood discovered particles in 77% of those tested.
PET plastic, which is most widely used to make drink bottles, food packaging, and clothing, was shown to be the most common type of plastic in human blood.
Plastic particles can enter the body through the air, as well as food and drink, according to the authors.
The findings, according to Dick Vethaak, professor of ecotoxicology, water quality, and health at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands, were “surprising.” “It’s concerning because it demonstrates that people consume or inhale so much plastic that it ends up in their bloodstream.
“These particles have the potential to trigger persistent inflammation,” he noted.
The researchers looked for five different forms of plastic in the blood of 22 participants. Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS), polyethylene (PE), and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) were the materials under question (PET).
According to the findings, 17 of the 22 blood donors had a quantifiable mass of plastic particles in their blood.
Polystyrene, which is used to create a wide range of home items, was the second most prevalent plastic discovered in the blood samples examined, behind PET. Polyethylene, a substance commonly used in the creation of plastic carrier bags, was the third most common plastic identified in blood.
According to the researchers, up to three different forms of plastic were measured in a single blood sample.
PET was identified in the bloodstream of 50% of those examined, while polystyrene was found in the bloodstream of 36%.
“This research indicated that nearly eight out of ten participants tested had plastic particles in their blood,” Professor Vethaak remarked. However, it does not specify a safe or hazardous threshold of plastic particle presence.
“How much is excessive? We need to finance more study right away so we can find out. We have a right to know what plastic particles are doing to our bodies as our exposure to them grows.”
As a result of his research initiatives, Prof Vethaak stated he has reduced his own exposure to plastics.
“Yes, my family strives to avoid using single-use plastics as much as possible, especially food contact plastics — food and drinks packaged in plastics,” he told The Independent.
He continued, ” “Because microplastic concentrations appear to be higher indoors than outdoors, good ventilation is essential. To reduce the deposition of plastic particles, I also cover my food and drinks.
“You can do a number of things to decrease your exposure to plastic particles.”
Common Seas, a pressure group campaigning for an end to the massive amount of waste plastic that ends up in the world’s oceans, commissioned the study.
“This discovery is highly disturbing,” said Jo Royle, the organization’s CEO. We’ve already begun to eat, drink, and breathe in plastic. It’s at the bottom of the world’s deepest sea trench and on the summit of Mount Everest. Nonetheless, by 2040, plastic manufacturing is expected to treble.
“We have a right to know what is happening to our bodies as a result of all this plastic. That’s why, through a National Plastic Health Impact Study Finance, we’re urging businesses, governments, and donors throughout the world to fund urgent further research into clarifying our understanding of the health implications of plastic.”
The research is published in the journal Environment International.