Micro and nanoplastics could increase the risk of metastases

In Austria studied the impact of micro and nanoplastics on cancer cells of the gastrointestinal track

– Micro- and nanoplastics persist in cells for longer than previously thought, increasing the risk of health problems. This is stated by a research consortium led by CBmed GmbH. The team investigated the impact of tiny plastic particles on cancer cells in the human gastrointestinal tract.

Published in the journal Chemospheres, the study revealed that micro- and nanoplastics persist in cells longer than expected, moving from one cell to another during the division process. Initial indications have also been found that these plastic particles could potentially promote cancer metastasis.

Micro- and nanoplastics enter the human body through ingestion. Up to 5 grams per week of these particles reach the gastrointestinal tract. We eat the equivalent of one credit card a week. By exploring the interactions between these fragments and various colon cancer cells, the study verified accumulation within lysosomes – the cellular organelles responsible for the decomposition of foreign bodies. Unlike biological residues, micro- and nanoplastics resist degradation and are transmitted to other cells through cell division.

They could also enhance cancer cell migration, potentially facilitating metastasis. This observation is more evident in the case of plastic particles smaller than one micrometer (nanoplastics). This reinforces the idea that the lower the scale, the greater the risk caused by this material.

Further investigation of the long-term effects of micro- and nanoplastics is now needed, given their widespread presence in the environment and human exposure. However, evidence of a no longer negligible risk accumulates. High absorption and high retention in tissues and cells represent two of the three characteristics used in toxicology to classify substances of concern under REACH, the EU’s chemicals regulation.

Related Articles

Back to top button