All said, PET concentrations were 10 times higher in children than in adults, while polycarbonate levels were even higher in the two groups. Researchers have found small amounts of both polymers in meconium, suggesting that babies are already born with plastic in their systems. This echoes previous research that has found microplastics in human placentas and meconium.
Scientists are now scrambling to find out what all this means for human health – and, more importantly, for children’s health. A recent study by researchers at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, found that different types of plastics may contain at least 10,000 different chemicals, a quarter of which are of concern to humans. These additives serve the purpose of making all kinds of plastics, such as flexibility, extra strength or protection from UV bombing, which reduces the material. Microplastics may contain heavy metals, such as lead, but they also contain them Frozen Heavy metals and other pollutants as they fall into the environment. They easily grow a microbial community of viruses, bacteria and fungi, many of which are human pathogens.
Of particular concern is endocrine-disrupting chemicals, or EDCs, which disrupt hormones and are associated with reproductive, nervous, and metabolic problems, for example obesity. The infamous plastic ingredient bisphenol A, or BPA, is an EDC associated with various cancers.
“We should be concerned because microplastic EDCs have been linked to a variety of adverse outcomes in human and animal research,” said Jodi Floss, a reproductive toxicology expert at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who led a 2020 study by the Endocrine Society on Plastics. (He was not involved in this new study.) “Some microplastics contain chemicals that can interfere with the normal functioning of the endocrine system.”
Children are particularly at risk for EDC, as their body development depends on a healthy endocrine system. “I strongly believe that these chemicals affect early life,” Conan said. “This is a weak time.”
This new study adds evidence to a growing body that children are exposed to excessive microplastics. “It’s a very interesting paper with some alarming numbers,” said Strathclyde microplastic researcher Diony Allen, who was not involved in the study. “We need to see everything a baby faces, not just a bottle and a toy.”
Since babies are passing microplastics from their stools, this means the gut can absorb some particles, just as it will absorb nutrients from food. This is known as translocation: especially small particles can pass through the intestinal wall and end up in other organs, including the brain. Researchers have actually shown this by feeding carp to their plastic particles, which move through the intestines and work on their heads, where they cause brain damage that manifests as behavioral problems: compared to fish control, people with plastic particles in their brains were less active and slower. Ate.
But this was done with very high concentrations of particles and in completely different species. Although scientists know that EDCs are bad news, they still do not know at what level of microplastic exposure will cause problems in the human body. “We need more research to confirm the dosage of microplastics and the types of chemicals,” says Errors.
Meanwhile, microplastic researchers say you can limit children’s contact with particles. Do not make baby formula with hot water in a plastic bottle a Use a glass bottle and transfer the liquid to a plastic one after it reaches room temperature. Vacuum and sweep to keep floors clean from microfiber. Avoid plastic wrappers and containers if possible. Microplastics have contaminated every aspect of our lives, so when you don’t get rid of them, you can at least reduce your family’s exposure.
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