What Are the Health Risks of Microplastics in Our Bodies?

Plastics that have broken down into tiny bits are microplastics and they become harmful when they get into bodily organs and tissues. Microplastics are in the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink. Research findings have shown that they have also made their way into arteries of certain people.

This causes for an alarm which Matthew Campen, PhD, a professor at the University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy in Albuquerque, defines as an exponential increase in microplastics in the environment and an every reason to believe that their concentrations in our bodies will continue to increase in the coming years and decades.

Also, microplastics are far too tiny to detect as you go about your daily life. They are less than 5 micrometers in size — about thousand times smaller than a grain of rice. According to Martha Gulati, MD, a preventive cardiologist, microplastics turn up in a lot of places like water bottles, makeup, personal care items, textiles and clothing, foods and drinks, and grooming products – which you might not expect simply because of they are tiny in size.

What health issues are linked to microplastics?

Although it is less clear whether microplastics can contribute to a specific health problem, Martha Gulati asserts that in lab experiments, microplastics clearly damage human cells. Luz Claudio, PhD, a professor of environmental medicine and public health, also hints that specific toxicity of microplastics may not be easy to know since they are made of different chemicals, with different potential health effects.

However, some scientists believe, one of the main health concerns about microplastics is their potential to cause endocrine disruptions— because their chemical constituents can interfere with the normal functioning of the body’s hormone system. Scientists are also concerned about microplastics accumulating inside our bodies and causing chronic health issues.

Can you avoid microplastics?

Scientists suggest that, although the exact health abnormalities caused by microplastics aren’t clear, there are certainly no benefits to microplastics building up over time inside the body. They also claim that doing the following can prevent microplastics contamination;

  • Limiting exposure to microplastics in drinking water by using a home filtration system for tap water and by avoiding disposable plastic bottles.
  • Using glass bottles instead of plastic bottles
  • Seeking out clothing and home textiles made from natural fibers

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