Microplastic and nanoplastic particles have been found everywhere from “Arctic snow to the deepest oceans,” and humans are known to consume them via food and water. But what is the true impact to human health? A group of researchers set out to help solve this mystery.
“It would be naive to believe there is plastic everywhere but just not in us,” said Rolf Halden of Arizona State University. “We are now providing a research platform that will allow us and others to look for what is invisible – these particles too small for the naked eye to see.”
The new methodology developed by Halden and the rest of the team allows for extraction of plastics from human tissues for analysis. Their methods and findings will be posted online in a “shared resource that will help build a plastic exposure database so that we can compare exposures in organs and groups of people over time and geographic space.”
In the researchers’ first round of results, they found polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polyethylene, and bisphenol A (BPA) in every human tissue sample they tested.
“Once we get a better idea of what’s in the tissues, we can conduct epidemiological studies to assess human health outcomes. That way, we can start to understand the potential health risks, if any.”