Last month we revealed how high levels of dangerous microplastics had been detected in some of the most remote regions of the world. Now there are new reports that microplastics are turning up in human stool, a new study suggests.
The study, Detection of Various Microplastics in Human Stool: A Prospective Case Series, examined human stool from eight people around the world and found all had microplastics.
“This small prospective case series showed that various microplastics were present in human stool, and no sample was free of microplastics,” wrote the team of scientists, led by Dr. Philipp Schwabl of the Medical University of Vienna.
“Larger studies are needed to validate these findings. Moreover, research on the origins of microplastics ingested by humans, potential intestinal absorption, and effects on human health is urgently needed.”
Schwabl said volunteers came from Japan, Russia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Italy, Poland, Finland, and Austria. Their daily food intake was the likely entry point for microplastic exposure.
The study didn’t rule out that microplastic exposure could be coming from food wrappers and bottles. None of the volunteers were vegetarians, while six out of the eight had consumed ocean-going fish.
All stool samples were examined at the Environment Agency Austria for ten different types of plastics. As many as nine plastics were found in sample stool, ranging in size from 50 to 500 micrometers. Schwabl said the most common plastics were polypropylene and polyethylene terephthalate.
On average, each stool sample contained about 20 microplastic particles per 10g of stool.
The study wasn’t entirely sure where the microplastics came from or how they were ingested, but because there were various types of plastics, Schwabl said the sources could be from food processing and packaging to seafood consumption.
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