How toxic are microplastics to mammals?



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How toxic are microplastics to mammals?

The presence of microplastics has been documented in marine organisms belonging to different species and with different eating habits, from planktonic species to invertebrates and predators. But it has also been found in land mammals.

The whole cycle of life is threatened by this serious problem, which threatens to undermine both the life of the animals themselves and of all ecosystems.
The Micro- and nanoplastic induced cellular toxicity in mammals: A review study, published on the The Science of the total environment, gives an interesting overview on the subject.

Below the abstract:

"Plastic based products are ubiquitous due to their tremendous utility in our daily lives. However, the limited biodegradable nature of plastics has recently raised pollution concerns globally, especially micro- and nanoplastics.

These anthropogenic pollutants are either manufactured specifically in the small size range for various commercial applications or formed due to fragmentation of macro plastics in the environment. Micro- and nanoplastics are currently widespread in the oceans, freshwater bodies, land and even present in our food.

The biological effects of micro- and nanoplastics on aquatic organisms are well documented but their impacts on mammalian system have not been rigorously investigated. This review discusses the potential routes of exposure to micro- and nanoplastics, biological effects of these particles in mammalian cells, factors influencing toxicity, and the probable mechanisms of cytotoxicity.

In general, small size, positive charge, high dose, and presence of toxic additives or pollutants in the micro/nanoplastics appear to induce cellular toxicity through oxidative stress, membrane damage, immune response and genotoxicity.

Understanding the cellular fate and toxicity of these materials may help extrapolate risks to mammals."

Thwaites, the Antarctic glacier that threatens the earth

Thwaites, an incredible, gigantic Antarctic glacier, according to climatologists and glaciologists from The International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration, would pose a serious threat as its melting could happen faster than expected.

This is confirmed by the data collected thanks to an autonomous Ran submarine robot, sent by the same experts, which went to the site to obtain as much information as possible, including the temperature, salinity, strength and oxygen content of the currents.

oceanic that head and subsequently penetrate under the glacier. Scientists wrote: "A greater influx of hot water has emerged than previously thought, triggering concerns about faster melting and accelerating the flow of ice into the sea."

Thwaites covers about 120,000 square kilometers: the possible consequences of its dissolution at sea could be disastrous. The most serious effect would be represented by an early rise in sea levels around the globe of 65 centimeters, with serious risks especially for the inhabitants who live in the coastal areas of Florida, the Pacific islands, Southeast Asia, but not only.