News about microplastic, which is found in the body of people and animals, has lately been pouring in from a cornucopia. Recently, several studies on this topic have been published, and some concern Russia.
So, Austrian scientists decided to look at the geography of this problem and studied the feces of volunteers from Russia, Finland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland and Austria. They found plastic from all participants.
Dr. Schwable, who led the study, said that an average of 20 microplastic particles were found in 10 g of stool received from volunteers.
Every year, with food and drinks, we swallow approximately 73 thousand tiny particles of plastic. Once in the digestive system and intestines, some of them are excreted with feces. Scientists have calculated that on average per day with feces we remove about 200 particles of microplastic.
What are its main sources? One of the main ones is bottled water, which we willingly buy and drink. A significant part of microplastics is brought by fish and seafood. They themselves are victims of pollution of the seas and oceans, in which entire islands of plastic accumulate. They are destroyed, releasing microplastic, and the inhabitants of the sea swallow it with water, plankton and fish. There are microscopic particles of plastic in the air, we swallow them by inhalation.
Lead researcher Dr. Philippe Schwable of Vienna Medical University said: “This is the first study of its kind. It confirms what we have long suspected: plastic ultimately reaches the human intestines. ” But perhaps the most important thing is that it reaches the intestines of people in many countries of the world, including Russia. Prior to this, this effect was usually shown in certain regions of the world.
Recently published the results of another, even larger-scale study conducted in Germany. German scientists found microplastic particles in the body of almost all children under the age of 17 years – in 97 percent of the 2.5 thousand children participating in this huge study!
And what is important, its content was determined not in feces, but in urine. This means that it is absorbed by the body from the intestines, into the bloodstream and, possibly, into different organs. In urine, scientists determined the remains of plasticizers. So called substances that are added to the composition of modern plastics. And it is these substances that are often very toxic.
The fact that they were excreted in the urine suggests that the body partially destroyed the plastic and these very harmful substances came out of it, exerting a toxic effect. In total, 11 types of plastic were found in the body.
It is especially unfortunate that they all discovered this in children. Identified toxic substances are more dangerous for them than for adults. Among other things, they negatively affect the development of the reproductive system of both boys and girls, especially in critical periods: when it is laid in the fetus during pregnancy, in the first year of life and in adolescence, when hormonal changes occur. This negatively affects fertility (fertility) and increases the risk of developing genital cancer.
Plus, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a carcinogen, was found in the urine of children. It is part of non-stick coatings for dishes. In most of the children, the concentration of PFOA was close to the upper limit of the norm, i.e., quite high.
What to do?
Unfortunately, it is impossible to completely exclude the ingress of microplastics and plastic into the body. But you can significantly reduce the scale of this invasion.
1. Since bottled water is called one of the main sources of microplastics, it is possible to switch to water in glass bottles, although it will be much more expensive.
2. It is even more important to refuse hot drinks from plastic. It can be either coffee or tea from vending machines, or boiling water in a plastic kettle. Instead, buy glass or metal.
3. Discard the plastic containers for storing food and in no case reheat food in the microwave in them.
4. Do not eat out of plastic utensils and plastic cutlery.
5. Only carry water with you in glass or iron jars, and not in any stylish bottles and non-spill glasses made of plastic.
6. Do not use plastic bottles, dishes, etc.
WHAT IS THE PLASTIC HAZARD?
It is already clear that microplastic can be harmful to the gastrointestinal tract, the immune system and other systems of our body, but you need to understand that plastic is dangerous not only in the form of microparticles. Plastics themselves and the additives contained in them really have a harmful effect on our body. They can secrete carcinogens, toxins and the so-called endocrine disruptors (destroyers). The latter behave in our bodies like female sex hormones, destroying hormonal balance and introducing chaos into the endocrine system.
From the point of view of toxicity, polyethylene or polypropylene are less dangerous than others. But in contact with the hot, they can also emit a carcinogen formaldehyde. But such plastic substances as polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride and others are really dangerous. They can emit serious carcinogens, as well as phthalates and bisphenol A. You can easily determine which plastic you encounter in a particular product – a water bottle, food packaging, plastic dishes, etc. The fact is that practically All plastic products are marked in the form of numbers or letters, which must be able to read. Usually it is indicated inside the triangle with arrows (see table).