Now, according to a new research bits of microplastics are showing up inside human tissues. A team from Arizona State University found nanoplastic particles in all 47 samples of a variety of human organs, including lungs, liver, spleen, and kidneys.
Using a mass spectrometer, they found every sample to hold traces of polycarbonate (PC), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and polyethylene (PE), all common plastic substances. They also found traces of bisphenol A (BPA), a material used in food containers.
The research builds on previous work that has also shown that microplastics are making their way through our bodies.
A 2019 study found that 97 percent of blood and urine samples collected from some 2,500 children in Germany between the ages of three and 17 showed toxic levels of plastic byproducts.
A 2018 study showed similar results: 20 particles of plastic per ten grams of human stool samples.
The Arizona State work, though, offers an unprecedented level of detail.
The tissue donors provided detailed information on their lifestyle, diet and occupational exposures. They have such well-defined histories, that the study provides the first clues on potential micro- and nanoplastic exposure sources and routes.
However, at this point, we don’t know whether this plastic is just a nuisance or whether it represents a human health hazard.
Reference- PHYS.org, Arizona State University media release, Futurism, Nature, Science Alert, BBC