Every year, at least 50,000 plastic particles are eaten per person, and they breathe a similar amount according to a new study.
According to experts, the real number may be much larger, as only a small group of foods and beverages have been analyzed for the degree of plastic infection. Scientists’ research shows that frequent consumption of bottled water dramatically increases the amount of nanoparticles consumed – read on the Guardian UK daily.
The health effects of microbial digestion are still unknown, but they are likely to be released by toxic substances. Some particles may be so small that they can penetrate into human tissues, where they can trigger an immune response.
Micro-plastic contamination is mainly caused by the destruction of plastic garbage, which is a worldwide problem. Scientists find microfibres everywhere they look: in the air, in the soil, in rivers and at the bottom of the world’s deepest oceans. Bottled and tap water, seafood and beer have also found microplastics. In October, for the first time, plastic was found in the human stool sample, proving that humans also inject plastic into their body.
The study presented in Environmental Science and Technology has based on 26 previous researches on the amount of microplastics in fish, crustaceans, sugar, salt, beer, water and urban air.
Subsequently, scientists have calculated how many microparticles a person consumes per year on the basis of the dietary guidelines of the US government. According to their estimates, adults absorb about 50,000 microparticles a year, while children absorb 40,000 microparticles.
Most food and drink types have not been tested, and the study only looked at 15 percent of calorie intake.
Kieran Cox, Canadian University of Victoria, says the research leader has a lack of knowledge. According to him, other foods such as bread, processed foods, meats, dairy products and vegetables may contain the same amount of plastic. “It is very likely that there is a huge amount of plastic in them. There may be hundreds of thousands of particles,” he said.
Water data is very detailed. Bottled water contains an average of 22 times more microplastics than tap water. Anyone who drinks only bottled water can take up to 130,000 plastic particles per year from this source only, and “only” 4,000 particles from tap water.
For the time being, scientists do not know what is happening with inhaled microparticles, but according to the study now published, “most inhaled particles are digested” rather than hissing or choking.