Scientists Found Microplastics Circulating in Human Blood for the First Time

By: | March 29th, 2022

Image courtesy Wikimedia

A new study by scientists in the Netherlands indicates that microplastics can reach our bloodstream. In the study, scientists detected microplastics in about 80% of the people tested.

Microplastics are tiny particles of plastics that are less than 5 mm in length. This study reveals that these minute particles can travel around the body and may lodge in organs. But at present scientists are unaware of the impact of these particles on our health. 

Microplastics are present everywhere. Earlier researchers discovered these microplastics in the brain, gut, the placenta of unborn babies, and the feces. But now they have found even in blood samples. 

Study author Professor Dick Vethaak, said, “The big question is what is happening in our body?”

“Are the particles retained in the body? Are they transported to certain organs, such as getting past the blood-brain barrier? And are these levels sufficiently high to trigger disease? We urgently need to fund further research so we can find out.”

Researchers examined blood samples of 22 healthy people. To their surprise, they found traces of plastic in 17 of them. But the exact combinations varied between samples. The microplastics discovered included PET plastic, polystyrene, and polyethylene.

Professor Vethaak added, “Our study is the first indication that we have polymer particles in our blood – ​it’s a breakthrough result,” 

“But we have to extend the research and increase the sample sizes, the number of polymers assessed, etc.” 

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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