Study finds microplastics in human blood for the first time
A new study has found microplastics in human blood for the first time.
In a study published in the journal Environment International and first reported by The Guardian, scientists analyzed blood samples from 22 healthy volunteers. A quantifiable mass of plastic particles were discovered in 17 of the samples, or nearly 80 percent of subjects.
PET plastic, which is commonly used for beverage bottles, was detected in 50 percent of the samples. Polystyrene, utilized for packing food, was found in 36 percent of the samples, and polyethylene, which makes up plastic bags, was discovered in 23 percent of samples. PMMA was measured in 5 percent of samples.
The particles, which are known to be consumed through food, water and breathing had previously been found in feces of babies and adults, but this research marked the first time they were discovered in human blood, according to The Guardian.
“Our study is the first indication that we have polymer particles in our blood — it’s a breakthrough result,” Dick Vethaak, an ecotoxicologist at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands, told the British newspaper.
“But we have to extend the research and increase the sample sizes, the number of polymers assessed, etc.,” he added.
Vethaak told The Guardian that “it is certainly reasonable to be concerned,” adding “the particles are there and are transported throughout the body.”
Vethaak said the new research “is a pioneering study,” adding that subsequent work is necessary, according to The Guardian.
The Dutch National Organisation for Health Research and Development and Common Seas, which works to lessen plastic pollution, funded the study.
“The big question is what is happening in our body?” Vethaak said. “Are the particles retained in the body? Are they transported to certain organs, such as getting past the blood-brain barrier?” And are these levels sufficiently high to trigger disease? We urgently need to fund further research so we can find out.”