Researchers say 'we all have tiny pieces of plastic inside us'

Scientist

Good News is That Micro Plastic Particles are Excreted From the Body- ScholarCC0 luvqs

"Personally, I did not expect that each sample would be tested positive", Schwabl said.

Dr. Schwabl said in a statement that his team's study confirmed "what we have long suspected, that plastics ultimately reach the human gut". "The results were astonishing".

Sherri Mason of the State University of NY at Fredonia, who headed up that study, noted that there were numerous health implications of ingesting microplastic, including various kinds of cancer, lower sperm count and even an increase in conditions such as ADHD and autism. The study examined stool samples from volunteers in several countries finding plastic in all.

The ocean isn't the only thing filled with plastic. On an average, 20 particles of microplastic were found in each 10 grams of excreta.

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Studies have tracked a growing trail of microscopic plastics unnaturally spilling into our global water system, and persisting for stubborn decades. It was presented this week at a gastroenterology conference in Vienna. If we're taking plastic in on one end, and we can't digest it, it's expected and logical that we'd see it on the other end, too.

Schwabl said it seemed that the rise in plastic pollution was an nearly inevitable bi-product of the way society operates, adding: "It is likely that the amount of plastic contamination may rise further if mankind does not change the current situation". Six from the seven ate seafood in the week prior to testing, and all of them ate or drank from plastic packaging. They kept diaries of their food intake for a week before having their stools tested. Schwabl and his colleagues analyzed the samples with a spectrometer. The microplastics measured between 50 and 500 micrometers; for comparison, a single strand of human hair is about 100 micrometers thick.

The two most common were polypropylene - found in bottle caps, rope and strapping - and polyethylene, present in drinking bottles and textile fibres.

Still, Schwabl cautioned against jumping to conclusions about the origins of the plastic. They sampled stool because it was easy to obtain and had "a high likelihood to be contaminated with ingested microplastics".

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The researchers noted that their sample size was small, which could limit the usefulness of their results.

And they found them.

Much more research is needed, he said, before we can determine the origin of plastics found in the gut, and especially whether they are harmful.

How do microplastics enter our bloodstream?

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"Poor quality observations of contamination do not represent well the scientific method and therefore in my humble opinion do not help us understand impacts on humans or manage them", Browne told the AP by email. It is estimated that about 2 to 5 per cent of all plastic produced ends up in the sea, where it is consumed by fish and other marine creatures.

"What may be of greater concern for these large microplastics, is whether any associated chemical contaminants leach off during gut passage and accumulate in tissues".

It probably comes as no surprise that microplastic-plastic particles smaller than five millimeters-are in our poop, considering they've already been found across our entire food chain and in our toothpaste, but now science supports our assumptions.

But these products come from very different places - indicating microplastics are far more pervasive than we might think.

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