As microplastics permeate remote places and species around the globe, people are no exception.
Microplastics have already been found in birds, fishes and whales, so it should have now be discovered in humans. To be specific, tiny plastic particles and fibres have been found in the stool of eight people who provided samples as a part of the study.
This news confirms the predictions of researchers who have tracked microplastics to remote locations and identified these minuscule particles in water, beer, table salt and even in seafood.
Food packaging can shed small fibres. So can household carpeting, clothing and other-plastic based items. Could the fibers in the stool have come from airborne dust that fell into the food before being consumed, or it came from the food packaging?
The questions don’t stop there. Once inside the human body, can plastic nano fibres-work their way into the bloodstream, lymphatic system or perhaps in a person’s liver? Till date, all of these questions have remained unanswered.
Plastics on the inside
Every year, an average of eight million tons of plastic waste flows into the world’s oceans. The sunlight and wave actions break these waterborne plastics into pieces of grains. Fibres from synthetic clothes such as polyester and acrylic make their way into freshwater systems via washing machines.
Schwabe, a gastroenterologist at the Medical University of Vienna did a study which involved three men and five women aged from 33 to 65, from seven different European countries and Japan. All of them kept a food diary for a week and then provided their stool samples for testing. All of the tests turned out to be positive. Two of the eight ate chewing gum daily. Six ate seafood. Over the course of the week, all of them had consumed plastic. On average, people drink 25 ounces of water from PET(polyethene terephthalate )
The Environmental Agency in Austria tested the stool samples for 10 different types of plastic, and none of them was found to be PET and polypropylene, a component found in food wrappers and clothes.