Tags: plastic | all | bodies | research

Plastic Now in All Our Bodies, Researchers Say

empty plastic bottles gathered for recycle
A new study suggests that plastic could be present in the bodies of all people. (Weerapat Kiatdumrong/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Tuesday, 23 October 2018 11:48 AM

A new study has found that plastic could be present in all our bodies, and researchers who presented this information Monday at the 26th UEG Week in Vienna said they were concerned about how this could impact human health.

A group of people from eight countries around the world were monitored by scientists from the Medical University of Vienna and the Environment Agency Austria, who analyzed the stool samples of participants and found that they all tested positive for the presence of up to nine different types of microplastics, according to a news release.

Microplastics are tiny particles of plastic measuring less than 5 mm in size and are often used in various products, but are also created by the natural break down of larger pieces of plastic through weathering, degradation and general wear and tear.

Philipp Schwable, a gastroenterologist at the Medical University of Vienna who led the study, explained to Wired how the plastic came to be present in the human body of their test subjects.

"Plastics are pervasive in everyday life and humans are exposed to plastics in numerous ways," he said.

For this particular study, participants kept a food diary in the week leading up to the stool sampling and it emerged that they were exposed to plastics by consuming plastic wrapped foods or drinking from plastic bottles.

A previous study posted on orbmedia.org earlier this year tested 259 bottles of water from 11 brands across nine countries and discovered that 93 percent of the bottled waters contained microplastic contamination.

Sherri Mason of the State University of New York at Fredonia, who headed up that study, noted that there were numerous health implications of ingesting microplastic, including various kinds of cancer, lower sperm count and even an increase in conditions such as ADHD and autism.

Schwable said that, while the highest plastic concentrations in animal studies have been found in the gut, "the smallest microplastic particles are capable of entering the blood stream, lymphatic system and may even reach the liver."

He said further research was needed to understand what this means for human health.

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Plastic could be present in all of our bodies, and researchers are concerned about how this could impact human health, according to a new study presented Monday at the 26th UEG Week in Vienna.
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Tuesday, 23 October 2018 11:48 AM
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