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Microplastics in the lungs, found for 1 time in living people



New study on microplastics pollution

( – After blood, microplastics were found in the deep lung tissues. For the first time, traces of plastic particles less than a millimeter in size were found inside the lungs of living people. And with a very high rate: 11 of the 13 people examined by researchers at the British University of Hull. Only a few weeks ago, another study had certified the presence of microplastic pollution in human blood, which suggests that for this channel particles can reach the internal organs and accumulate. With human health damage yet to be assessed.

The new analysis was based on the use of spectroscopy with a lower limit of sensitivity of 3 micrometers and found microplastic bioaccumulation in all lung regions in significant quantities. From laboratory analysis, the researchers were able to reconstruct the type of materials found. The two most frequent are polypropylene (23% of cases), common in plastic packaging, and PET (18%). Microscopic residues of polyethylene (the most common type of plastic), Ptfe, used in gears and seals, plastic resins and polystyrene were also found. Almost half were fibers, 43% fragments and 8% in the form of film.

While the fate of particles entering the lung, and their resulting biological effects in terms of inflammation responses, are well known for ultrafine particles in the nanoparticle size range or PM10, the corresponding information is currently not available” for micro-scale particles analyzed in this study, write the authors. They identify in breathing the access route of microplastics in the lungs. Particles of micro-size (10 μm-5 mm), therefore, “still have to be considered in terms of health implications and potential impacts”.

The study on the presence of microplastics in human blood, carried out as part of the Imunoplast project, had also given rather disconcerting results for the ubiquity and accumulation of these particles. The total concentration of microparticles in the 22 donors analyzed was on average 1,6 µg/ml. A quantity is comparable to a teaspoon of plastic in 1,000 liters of water. PET, polyethylene, and styrene polymers, are the most common polymers in blood samples.

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