Scientists Discover Microplastics in Human Tissues

Scientists have discovered micro- and nano-plastic particles in human tissues and organs for the first time. While it is known that plastic particles have contaminated every corner of the planet and infiltrated countless animal species, relatively little is known about their presence in the human body, beyond the fact that they can pass through the gastrointestinal tract. But now researchers have found that plastic particles can, in fact, accumulate in brain and body tissues. 

Using 47 samples taken from lungs, liver, spleen and kidneys – all organs that are likely to be exposed to microplastics due to their filtering capacities – the researchers from Arizona State University found dozens of types of micro- and nano-plastics, including polycarbonate (used to make refillable water bottles and jugs), polyethylene terephthalate (used in polyester fabrics and disposable plastic food and beverage containers) and polyethylene (used to make plastic bags and films). Additionally, Bisphenol A (BPA) was detected in every sample.

This is troubling because microplastics are known to cause inflammation, infertility, and cancer in animals, but little is understood yet about their effect on human health. BPA is a notorious reproductive toxicant that disrupts hormonal and sexual development. It has been removed from many products in recent years, but its common replacement, Bisphenol S (BPS), is considered to be just as harmful.

Treehugger; Scientists Discover Microplastics in Human Tissues