Discovery and quantification of plastic particle pollution in human blood

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Discovery and quantification of plastic particle pollution in human blood

Microplastics have been found to persist in the environment in large quantities, especially in marine and aquatic ecosystems. This is because plastic deforms but does not break for many years, it can be ingested and accumulated in the body and tissues of many organisms.

The entire cycle and movement of microplastics in the environment has not yet been studied in depth, especially due to the difficulty of analyzing a mixture of various types of more or less inert plastics. Microplastics come from different sources: they are found massively in products such as cosmetics, personal care and household products, in building materials, in industries and in agriculture.

Often in cosmetics, microplastics make up up to 90% of the total weight of the product, as in the case of skin exfoliants. Tire wear also produces microplastics. A large amount of microplastics is of home origin, such as those coming from the washing of synthetic garments, which are poured into water.

Agriculture is also a producer of microplastics. The sheets that are used to mulch disintegrate in the soil when at the end of the crop cycle they are not collected and disposed of properly. The study: Discovery and quantification of plastic particle pollution in human blood, published on the Environment international, explained: "Plastic particles are ubiquitous pollutants in the living environment and food chain but no study to date has reported on the internal exposure of plastic particles in human blood.

This study's goal was to develop a robust and sensitive sampling and analytical method with double shot pyrolysis - gas chromatography / mass spectrometry and apply it to measure plastic particles ≥700 nm in human whole blood from 22 healthy volunteers.

Four high production volume polymers applied in plastic were identified and quantified for the first time in blood. Polyethylene terephthalate, polyethylene and polymers of styrene (a sum parameter of polystyrene, expanded polystyrene, acetonitrile butadiene styrene etc.) were the most widely encountered, followed by poly (methyl methacrylate).

Polypropylene was analyzed but values ​​were under the limits of quantification. In this study of a small set of donors, the mean of the sum quantifiable concentration of plastic particles in blood was 1.6 µg / ml, showing a first measurement of the mass concentration of the polymeric component of plastic in human blood.

This pioneering human biomonitoring study demonstrated that plastic particles are bioavailable for uptake into the human bloodstream. An understanding of the exposure of these substances in humans and the associated hazard of such exposure is needed to determine whether or not plastic particle exposure is a public health risk."