Researchers find microplastics in human blood

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Eleanor Hildebrandt | March 30, 2022

News research found microplastic pollution in human blood for the first time. Of the people scientists tested, 80 percent showed trace particles of microplastics.

While the impact on one’s health if they have microplastics in their bloodstream is currently unknown, the research shows that particles of pollution can travel around the body. Through this travel, particles can lodge themselves in a person’s organs. The researchers have found that babies and young children are the most vulnerable when it comes to chemical and particle exposure like this.

The new research was published in the journal Environmental International and examined 22 participant’s blood samples. Some of the samples showed more than one type of plastic at a time. Dick Vethaak, an ecotoxicologist professor at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands who worked on the research, told The Guardian that the study’s results are a breakthrough as it is the first indication of any particles from plastics in a person’s blood.

“It is certainly reasonable to be concerned,” Vethaak said. “The particles are there and are transported throughout the body.” 

The team plans to increase its sample size to better inform their data and deepen their understanding of these particles. Vethaak also plans to increase the number of polymers assessed alongside the number of participants, diversifying the results significantly. As plastic production continues to grow, some researchers and environmental advocates are concerned about the increased likelihood for people to have microplastics in their bodies.

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