New research shows babies are full of microplastics

New research shows babies are full of microplastics

According to an alarming study, newborns have 15 times more microplastics in their systems than adults.

Microplastics are little bits of plastic smaller than five millimetres in size, around the thickness of a two-euro coin.

Cosmetics, biotechnology, cleaning products, and medication capsules are just a few of the sectors that employ microplastics.

They can, however, be produced when plastic items are broken down. This can occur as a result of anything as easy as washing synthetic clothing in a washing machine.

Chewing on a dummy is another technique to break down microplastics.

The researchers assume that newborns are eating such high quantities of microplastics due to chewing toys such as dummies and crawling around on carpets that contain microplastics.

The researchers looked for two types of microplastics: polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polycarbonate (PC). They looked for PET and PC by looking at the amounts of microplastics in faeces from 10 people and six newborns in New York State, USA.

They discovered at least one form of microplastic in all of the samples. That means that microplastics are extremely likely to be present in adults as well.

When the researchers compared the infant samples to the adult ones, they discovered at least ten times as much.

Why are microplastics such a concern?

Unfortunately, the judgment is yet out on exactly what the consequences of microplastics on human health are.

However, there is growing worried that they can be extremely harmful if consumed.

According to experts, microplastics were formerly considered to pass harmlessly through the gastrointestinal tract. However, new research shows that even the tiniest particles may pass cell membranes and reach our bloodstream.

This is problematic since laboratory animal studies on microplastics has resulted in cell death, inflammation, and metabolic problems.

New research shows babies are full of microplastics
A handful of microplastics at the beach

Getting rid of microplastics in industries

We already have a better understanding of why microplastics are harmful to the environment.

Last year, scientists from Duke University discovered that compounds emitted by microplastics in the water were harming animals. Many of the microplastics ejected from synthetic clothing will end up in the ocean.

For a while, it was likewise assumed that microplastics consumed by fish would be processed safely. However, the Duke University study refuted this.

They discovered that the compounds covering the microplastics were interfering with the fish’s reproductive hormones.

Eliminating microplastics once and for all

New research shows babies are full of microplastics
A collection of mussels

Mussels, as marine filterers, may come to the rescue by eliminating microplastics from the seas.

But it isn’t simply mussels that are performing the task. A cluster of 300 mussels could filter 250,000 particles of microplastics every hour, according to the researchers.

Mussels may one day be responsible for filtering 25% of microplastics in the water that surrounds them, according to computer modelling.

If using a mussel to clean your baby’s toys does not sound realistic, it is advised that you reduce the number of synthetic fibres you purchase.

However, it is not suggested that you toss away all of your old synthetic waste because it will most likely wind up in a landfill where it will never degrade.

Microplastics released by synthetic clothes can be captured using filters that can be purchased. Alternatively, you may change your weekly wash schedule to wait until you have a full load, as washing a full load lowers friction, resulting in fewer fibres flowing down the drain.

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