In nature, microplastics are very harmful to the environment, fauna, and flora. In a recent study, researchers have found traces of microplastics in blood samples from healthy people.
Microplastics have already been found in human organs: intestines, the placenta of fetuses, babies, and adult feces.
PET stands for “polyethylene terephthalate.” This is the name of one of the microplastics found in the blood of healthy people. To detect it, researchers combed the blood samples of 22 anonymous healthy donors. The result: 17 of them contained microplastics. Their work was published in the journal Environment International.
Polyethylene terephthalate is a plastic used in the manufacture of polyester fibers and bottles. Half of the donors, 11 samples, contained it. Another microplastic found in human blood was polystyrene, which was found in more than a third of the samples. Polystyrene is commonly used in the manufacture of food packaging.
Evidence that we have plastics in our bodies
According to the authors, such microplastics in human blood had not been detected or quantified before. “This is evidence that we have plastics in our bodies. Where does it end up in our body? Can it be eliminated? Evacuated? Where is it retained in certain organs, perhaps accumulated, or can it even cross the blood-brain barrier,” Dick Vethaak, an ecotoxicologist at the Free University of Amsterdam, told AFP.
These are all questions that scientists would like to see answered. They are now calling for more research to determine the long-term effects of these microplastics on human health.
In the blood and possibly in the organs
But how did these microplastics get into our bloodstream? According to the authors, there are several hypotheses: water, air, food, cosmetics, or hygiene products. For them, one of the biggest dangers is that these microplastics now reach our organs. This is a legitimate fear because according to a study published in the journal Science of The Total Environment in 2021, these microplastics have already been found in the brain. Their presence would be very harmful because they would accumulate in the organ’s immune cells and destroy them in the long term.