Microplastics in the lungs, the risks of developing tumors are being studied

Microplastics are deposited deep in people’s lungs, the news appeared on April 6 on the Guardian and refers to the results of a search published online by Total Environmental Science and carried out by a team of researchers and doctors from the United Kingdom. L“Microplastic pollution, now ubiquitous on the planet, makes human exposure inevitable and causes growing concern about health risks. These are the conclusions of the study based on the examination of lung tissue taken from 13 operated patients. The scans, which managed to detect plastic particles up to 0.003 mm, confirmed their presence in 11 cases. Thanks to spectroscopy, it was also possible to identify the type of plastic and the most common microplastics were those derived from polypropylene, mainly used in packaging and tubes, and Pet, used mainly for bottles.

“We did not expect to find the greatest number of particles in the lower regions of the lungs – refers to Guardian Laura Sadofsky from the Hull York School of Medicine in the UK and lead author of the study -. This is a surprising finding, as the airways are smaller in the lower parts of the lungs and one would expect particles of this size to be filtered out or trapped before reaching this depth. » These data represent an important advance in the field of knowledge of the consequences of air pollution. information that could be used to create realistic laboratory conditions to determine the impact of microplastics on health.

plastic greepeace beach cleaning waste
The most prevalent types of plastics in lung tissue were polypropylene, derived from packaging and tubing, and PET, especially from bottles.

the Guardian however, he also points out that the discovery of microplastics in the lungs is not new. Previous studies had indeed found its presence in lung tissue taken during autopsies. Research in 2021 in Brazil found them in 13 of 20 people analyzed. In this case, polyethylene, the material used in plastic bags, stood out among the most common particles. Another study, conducted in 1998 in the United States on lung cancer patients, found plastic fibers and plant fibers (like cotton) in more than 100 samples. In the cancerous tissue, 97% of the samples contained the fibers and in the non-cancerous samples 83% were contaminated.

So it was I notice people they breathed in those tiny particlesas well as to ingest them by food And the waterspecifically a greater development of illnesses has been demonstrated among workers in the sector, exposed in a particularly high way. the Guardian reports that microplastics were first detected in human blood in March, showing that they can travel inside the body and lodge in organs. Their impact on health remains to be precisely defined. A subject that worries researchers, because they have verified in the laboratory that microplastics cause damage to human cells and it is well known that microparticles from pollution enter the body and cause millions of early deaths.

From the summit of Everest to the placenta, the presence of microplastics is now almost omnipresent, both outside and inside the human body.

Huge quantities of plastic waste are dumped into the environment and microplastics contaminate the entire planet, from the summit of Everest to the deepest oceans. These particles have also been found in the placenta of pregnant women and it has been observed that in pregnant rats they pass rapidly, through the lungs, heart, brain and other organs of the fetus. the Guardian highlights that a revision published last March in Springer Link assessed cancer risk and concluded: “More detailed research is urgently needed on how micro and nanoplastics affect structures and processes in the human body and if and how they can transform cells and induce carcinogenesis, especially in view of the exponential increase in plastic production”.

© Reproduction reserved; Photo: Adobe Stock, Greenpeace

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Roberto La Pira

Writing Il Fatto Alimentare


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