Microplastics found deep in live lung tissue – study — Analysis

For the first time ever, microplastics have been discovered in lung tissue. Science of the Total Environment published the study last month.

Microplastics, which are tiny particles less than 0.02 millimeters in size and sometimes invisible to the naked eyes, can often be classified as trace particles. 

Previous studies have already found microplastic particles throughout the body including in the lungs. However, this research used tissue taken from cadavers. Scientists were then able to see the pollutant levels in tissue taken from patients during routine surgery. 

Danger to food chain? Microplastic contaminates found in Sydney Harbor

They found 39 microplastics in 11 of the 13 lung tissue samples tested – much higher levels than previous laboratory tests had yielded. The microplastics in male and female donor lungs were found to be much more widespread than those of their female counterparts. This surprised them as they recorded more microplastics in the deeper parts of the lung. 

This research follows a Dutch study that was also first in its field, published earlier this month in Environment International. The sensitive equipment was used to analyze the blood of human donors who were healthy for any microplastic polymers. Researchers found microplastics within 17 out of 22 tested samples, as well as up to three types in one sample. 

A wide range of microplastics can be used for manufacturing and final products. These include food and beverage containers as well as plastic shopping bags. They also make clothing and blankets. The bottom of Sydney Harbor, as well as in the fetal placenta have all been contaminated with microplastics.

Laura Sadofsky is the principal author. “an important advance in the field of air pollution, microplastics and human health,”As quoted by the Daily Mail.  Their health effects remain poorly understood. 

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