Home » Researchers Find Plastic Traces In The Lung Tissues Of The Human Body

Researchers Find Plastic Traces In The Lung Tissues Of The Human Body

by Coffee Table Science
Scientists have found particles of plastics in human tissues with PET and polypropylene most common.
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Microplastic pollution has caused damage to the lungs of living people. The traces of plastics have been discovered in the tissues of the patients undergoing surgery.
Scientists said that microplastic pollution is everywhere across the world, which has made human exposure unavoidable. Hence, there is an increasing concern regarding health hazards.
Samples were analysed to detect the presence of microplastic pollution. These samples were taken from the tissues removed from patients undergoing surgery. Out of 13 patients, microplastics were found in 11 cases. The most common particles were PET, used in making bottles and polypropylene, used in making pipes and plastic packaging.
Previous studies have shown the traces of plastics at high rates in lung tissues taken during autopsies.
These tiny particles have entered the human body through air, water and food. Workers who are exposed to microplastic pollution are known to have serious and evolved diseases.
In March 2022, researchers detected microplastics in the human blood. The research showed that the particles can travel in the body and enter the organs. The impact of plastic particles on health is still unknown. But the researchers are worried because microplastics can cause damage to human cells in the laboratory and have already entered the human body causing millions of deaths a year.
“We did not expect to find the highest number of particles in the lower regions of the lung, or particles of the sizes we found,” said Laura Sadofsky at Hull York Medical School, UK, a senior author of the study. “It is surprising as the airways are smaller in the lower parts of the lungs, and we would have expected particles of these sizes to be filtered out or trapped before getting this deep.”
“This data provides an important advance in the field of air pollution, microplastics and human health,” said Laura. The information could be useful in creating a realistic environment for laboratory experiments to discover the health impacts.
The research used healthy lung tissues from next to the surgery targets. The analysis showed that the size of the particles is around 0.003mm. Spectroscopy was also used to determine the type of plastic through electromagnetic radiation. It used control samples to report the level of background contamination.
Polyethylene, which is used in plastic bags, was one of the most common plastic particles. “Deleterious health outcomes may be related to… these contaminants in the respiratory system following inhalation,” concluded researchers.
A US study of lung cancer patients in 1998 discovered plastic and plant fibres such as cotton in more than 100 samples. According to the study, 97 per cent of the samples of cancerous tissues contained the fibres and 83 per cent of the samples of the non-cancerous tissues were contaminated.
A large amount of plastic waste is dumped into the environment. Microplastics have contaminated the entire world. These plastics have been found in the placentas (the organ that provides food and oxygen to the developing foetus) of pregnant women. The particles pass rapidly through the lungs into the brain, heart and other organs of the foetuses in pregnant rats.
A recent review estimated cancer risk and concluded: “More detailed research on how micro-and nano plastics affect the structures and processes of the human body, and whether and how they can transform cells and induce carcinogenesis, is urgently needed, particularly in light of the exponential increase in plastic production.”
The detailed research has been published in the journal Science of the Total Environment.

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