Microplastics 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, and 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. According to an investigation launched by Orb Media, a nonprofit organization in Washington, which shared the results with the Guardian, the water that comes out of taps around the world contains microscopic plastic fibers; the dossier, called Invisibles: The Plastic Inside Us, represents the first global study on the pollution of drinking water by microplastics.
The United States has been identified as the country with the highest contamination rate: values reaching up to 94%, with fibers found in tap water also sampled in the buildings of the United States Capitol, at the headquarters of the United States Protection Agency.
Followed by countries such as Lebanon and India. European nations such as the United Kingdom, Germany and France have a lower contamination rate, even if the presence was found in 72% of cases. As regards the concentrations detected, the average number of fibers in half a liter varies from 4.8 units in the United States to 1.9 in Europe.
It is a contamination distributed more or less evenly in every part of the globe, regardless of the place of supply.
Find microplastics in the placenta
The Plasticenta: First evidence of microplastics in human placenta study, published on the Environment international, demonstrates how microplastics have also been found in the palcenta.
In the abstract we can read: "Microplastics are particles smaller than five millimeters deriving from the degradation of plastic objects present in the environment. Microplastics can move from the environment to living organisms, including mammals.
In this study, six human placentas, collected from consenting women with physiological pregnancies, were analyzed by Raman Microspectroscopy to evaluate the presence of microplastics. In total, 12 microplastic fragments (ranging from 5 to 10 μm in size), with spheric or irregular shape were found in 4 placentas (5 in the fetal side, 4 in the maternal side and 3 in the chorioamniotic membranes); all microplastics particles were characterized in terms of morphology and chemical composition.
All of them were pigmented; three were identified as stained polypropylene a thermoplastic polymer, while for the other nine it was possible to identify only the pigments, which were all used for man-made coatings, paints, adhesives, plasters, finger paints , polymers and cosmetics and personal care products."