Scientists have discovered the human microparticles of plastic in the placenta for the first time. Although the effects of these particles on health have not yet been studied, researchers still think that this issue should not be left unattended as it can be quite harmful.
According to science, these particles may contain chemicals that can cause long-term damage to the embryo or hinder the development of its immune system. These particles are most likely to enter the mother’s body through food and air.
Plastic microparticles were found in the placenta of four healthy women. They had a normal pregnancy and childbirth. Microparticles were found in the placenta on both the fetal and maternal sides. They were also found in the membrane in which the embryo develops.
It is noteworthy that only 4% of each placenta was examined, indicating that the concentration of plastic microparticles in the placenta was much higher than that found in this 4%. Each unidentified particle found in the placenta was painted plastic, blue, red, orange, or pink. They allegedly hit the mother’s body from food packaging, dyes, cosmetics and personal consumption products.
The microparticles reach a size of approximately 10 microns (0.01 mm). Due to their small size, their movement with blood flow is not difficult. The particles may also penetrate the embryonic body, although, so far, researchers have not been able to assess this risk.
“This cyborg is like having a child: it is made not only of human cells, but also of inorganic compounds,” said Antonio Ragusa, director of gynecology at Fatebenefratelli Hospital in San Giovanni Calibita, Rome, who led the study. “The mothers were amazed,” he added.
In a study published in the journal Environment International, the scientists note: “The placenta promotes embryonic development and acts as a link to the outside world. Because of its vitality, potentially harmful plastic particles are a major concern. More research is needed to assess “Whether the plastic microparticles will trigger a response in the immune system. It is also interesting to see if toxic substances with harmful effects are released from these microparticles once they enter the body.”
When it comes to the potentially damaging effects of plastic microparticles, here researchers are implying inhibition of embryonic growth. It should be noted that these particles were not found in the bodies of the two women participating in the study. This may be due to a different physiology, diet or lifestyle.
Microplastic pollution is a serious problem in all parts of the planet, from Mount Everest to the deep waters of the oceans. We already know that humans get these particles through air, food and water on a daily basis.
Their impact on human health is not yet known, however, scientists think this effect should be assessed as soon as possible. You may recall an article published in October of this year that little ones who get milk from plastic bottles get millions of plastic microparticles every day. In 2019, researchers reported that they found airborne contaminants in the placenta, on the fetal side. This means that gases emitted from factories and transport into the atmosphere pose a threat to even unborn children.
“In the process of embryonic development, the presence of foreign bodies in it is undesirable,” Andrew Shannon, a professor at King’s College London, told the Daily Mail.
Elizabeth Settler Green of the Chem Trust says newborns are already “contaminated” at birth. “The research is small, but it focuses on particularly important issues.”
Another new study showed that plastic nanoparticles that were “inhaled” by pregnant laboratory rats were found in their embryonic liver, lungs, heart, kidneys and brain.
Although there is no definitive conclusion on this issue yet, the attitude of science is still unequivocal and they unanimously acknowledge that the presence of microplastics in the fetal body may cause a number of injuries. Plastic pollution has always been a big problem, however, these studies already point to a direct link between human health and these substances.