Plastic pollution has undoubtedly been creating trouble for the last few years and has now caused a stir among scientists when they recently suspected that the food we ingest also contains traces of microplastics specifically the seafood that we consume. A paper published recently claimed that 93 percent of bottled water contains microplastics. To add to the issue, a new study shows that there has been microplastic presence detected in human stool samples around the world.
This research was a collaboration between scientists at the Medical University of Vienna and the Environment Agency Austria and included eight participants from Finland, Italy, Japan, Poland, Netherlands, UK, Russia and Austria.
The subjects were asked to maintain a food diary to keep track of their daily intake for a week and then their stools were sampled. All of them drank bottled water from plastic bottles, and ate wrapped foods. None of them were vegetarian while six of them had eaten sea fish.
According to the results, there were microplastics in every stool sample. The most abundantly found plastics present were polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene-terephthalate (PET) with varying sizes of 50 to 500 micrometers. They were not just comparatively large-sized but also there were around 20 particles per 10g of stool.
The lead researcher, Dr. Phillip Schwabl explained that this study is the first of its kind and it confirms the overly due suspicion that plastics have reached the human gut.
“Of particular concern is what this means to us, and especially patients with gastrointestinal diseases. While the highest plastic concentrations in animal studies have been found in the gut, the smallest microplastic particles are capable of entering the blood stream, lymphatic system and may even reach the liver. Now that we have the first evidence for microplastics inside humans, we need further research to understand what this means for human health,” he added. At the 26th United European Gastroenterology Week, Schwabl is scheduled to present the new research.