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Microplastics in the Environment are Now Entering the Blood Stream
Find out how to control the proliferation of plastic contamination in the environment and what the implications of them are for human health.
Cue the Sarah McLachlan music.
For anyone who has been brought near to tears at the sight of animals in trouble, the image of a bird with a 6-pack beer/soda ring lodged around its neck is not only heartbreaking, it's a poignant example of how plastic pollution is upending our environment.
Perhaps worse is what's happening on the inside. Animals from birds to whales, sea turtles to salmon are mistaking plastic refuse for food, with dangerous consequences not only for them but for us.
Indeed, maybe scientists should rename our current Anthropocene age, calling it the "Plasticene"
How Microplastics Proliferate In The Food Chain
Production of plastics has ramped up significantly since World War II; experts estimate we've produced 10 billion tons to date, only 60% of which is captured in landfills.
The rate of plastic production increases each year, as does the amount of waste finding its way into waterways and oceans. The coastal pollution problem is particularly acute (on a per capita basis) in Panama, Guyana, Suriname, the Philippines, Malaysia, and countries along the west coast of equatorial Africa, but all nations are contributing to the problem of plastic pollution in the ocean.
As unwanted plastics enter the ocean, they can break down into smaller "microplastics"
Laboratories Confirm Microplastics Are Entering The Human Blood Stream
We've known about the presence of microplastics in the guts of fish and other wildlife for quite some time as well as the presence of microplastics in sea salt, potable water, and beverages, such as beer.
So, it was probably inevitable that laboratory scientists at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam were able to detect the presence of plastics in human blood for the first time.
This discovery builds on previous research at the University of São Paulo, which identified the presence of airborne microplastics in human lung tissue as well as research from the San Giovanni Calibita Fatebenefratelli Hospital in Rome, which identified the first evidence of microplastics in human placentas.
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