In a new research study commissioned by Common Seas, scientists have found traces of plastic particles in human blood. This is a pathbreaking study highlighting the toxic impact of plastics on human health. The study was done with 22 anonymous donors. Out of which, 17 samples were found be to be ridden with microplastics. Half of the samples contained PET plastic (used in bottled water) and a quarter of the samples contained polyethene.
Microplastics are something that can enter a human body via air (that we breathe), food (that we eat) or water (that we drink). A growing body of evidence is showing that these tiny particles can cause serious health problems like cancer, cell damage and other serious illnesses.
Studies have also suggested that chemicals in plastic are toxic and pose a big threat to young boys during the pregnancy of their mothers. It can lead to neurodevelopmental disorders like ADHD and Autism. Science bodies in the US have raised a similar alarm on the use of baby plastic.
An analysis has in 2019 has estimated that an average annual intake of microplastics for an American citizen is 74,000 to 12,10,000 particles, depending on the age and sex of the citizen. Bottled water was identified as the highest source of plastic particles (100 microplastic per ltr).
Some studies have also suggested that plastic litter is a major source for the spread of pathogens, especially in areas with poor sanitation facilities & rampant plastic pollution. These analyses have established a direct link between plastic waste and the risk of infectious diseases.
Civil society and science organizations have called for increased funding to get more data and deep insights on the issues of plastic and human health. These studies need to be expanded and cover a diverse range of factors that influence the problem of plastic pollution.
Also, more the data we have on plastic and health, the better we will be in a position to tackle this crisis, limit the harm & prepare our health systems to respond. This is the time to understand that plastic is not just an environmental pollutant but also a threat to human health.
“Our planet, our health” is the theme for this year’s World Health Day (7th April). The time is to reinforce the call for managing the plastic waste crisis & check its harmful consequences on human health. A plastic-free environment will ensure good & healthy lives for all.
Photos from: Common Seas, Nat Geo, NYT, Unsplash, Plastic Soup Foundation and Wikimedia Commons.
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