Microplastics have also been found in the lungs of humans

Microplastics have also been found in the lungs of humans

There are several ways in which our bodies can be contaminated by microplastics. We ingest them, we absorb them through different tissues (and then find them in the placenta or circulating in the blood), but not only: we inhale them, making them deposit in the deepest parts of our respiratory system. This is what emerges from the results of a study by researchers from the University of Hull in the United Kingdom, published in the journal Science of the total environment.

In particular, scientists have detected 39 different plastic particles in lung tissue samples taken from living humans: the most present polymers were polyethylene (the material from which plastic bags and some packaging are made ) and other plastics normally contained in paints, roads, tires and synthetic fabrics. According to the authors, these findings suggest that inhalation represents a regular route of exposure to microplastic pollution.

For the first time microplastics have been found in human blood This is what emerges from a study by the University of Vrije, in the Netherlands: analyzing 22 blood samples, 80% of tiny plastic particles were found of them. The effects on human health are still unknown A ubiquitous and inevitable exposure On our planet, microplastics - plastic particles smaller than five millimeters in diameter - are everywhere and humans are constantly exposed to them. Consequently, there are more and more studies that detect the presence of microplastics in different body parts of our body, with still unknown effects on our health: in the intestines of adults and children, in the placenta of pregnant women and, as we told you about here, in the bloodstream. In particular, the so-called airborne microplastics (i.e. those that are suspended in the air we breathe) have been detected and isolated in many places on our planet: in urbanized centers, in indoor homes, but also in distant open spaces. from big cities. This means omnipresent and inevitable exposure, making it extremely plausible the idea that microplastics are inhaled and deposited in the lungs of human beings.

The study To understand the potential that microplastics suspended in the air have penetrate into the respiratory system and possibly cause damage, a careful analysis of lung tissues from living people was required. In fact, previous studies, conducted on lung samples from cadavers or deriving from biopsies carried out for lung tumors, had already detected the presence of tiny fibers and plastic particles, but no one had previously analyzed their quantity or composition. .

The study by the British team, in fact, is the most in-depth in this area: it used 13 lung tissue samples from living human beings and analyzed them with spectroscopic techniques to identify microplastic particles, taking into account also the possible contamination due to the handling of the samples in the laboratory.

In 11 of the 13 samples analyzed, the researchers identified 39 plastic particles, all having a diameter greater than three microns. Analyzing the composition of the detected particles, it emerged that the most present polymers were polyethylene, polypropylene and some resins, materials found in plastic bags, packaging, paints, roads, tires and clothes made with materials synthetics. Another surprising result is related to their distribution: the researchers, in fact, found the greatest concentration of plastic particles in the deepest part of the respiratory tract, where the pulmonary alveoli are present, a portion where it was not thought that they could reach because they were too large. .

A route of exposure to microplastics "This is surprising, as the airways are smaller in the lower parts of the lungs and we would have expected particles of this size to be filtered or trapped before reaching this depth "says Laura Sadofsky, senior author of the study.

The results, the study reads, suggest that inhalation may be a regular route of exposure to microplastics for humans, who may breathe and accumulate in the lung tissues much larger particles than previously assumed: it is not yet clear, however, what happens to qu large particles once they are deposited in the lungs and above all, as with other types of exposure to microplastics, what effects they have on human health. But this study may be a starting point precisely to shed some light on the issue.

"The characterization of the types and levels of microplastics that we have found can now provide realistic conditions for laboratory exposure experiments, with the objective of determining their impacts on human health ", concludes Sadofsky.

Powered by Blogger.