Microplasticism is everywhere. They have been found in deep sea sediments over three miles below sea level, in the Arctic Ocean and on the Swiss mountains. Now microplastic has been found in human feces all over the world.
Scientists from Vienna Medical University and the Austrian Environment Agency have presented their findings at the 26th Unique European Gastroenterological Week held in Vienna, Austria. The discovery that the team says has far-reaching consequences for human health. Earlier research on animals has shown that microplastic particles can enter the bloodstream, lymphatic system and even the liver. Animal studies also show microplasticism can cause bowel injury.
Microplasticism is defined as plastic pieces less than five millimeters long. They come from larger pieces of plastic broken down and microbitar-small pieces of polyethylene plastic that are commonly used in beauty products.
In what is believed to be the first study of its kind, the team led by Philipp Schwabl, from the Vienna University of Technology, analyzed pallet samples from eight people living in eight different countries ̵
1; Finland, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Great Britain and Austria.
Participants were asked to keep a food diary during the week leading to submission of a test. Diaries showed that they were all exposed to plastic by food packaging or by drinking from plastic bottles.
Testing showed that everyone had microplasticism present in their pallet samples. Up to nine different types of plastics were found, with polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) the most common. They found on average 20 microplastic particles per 10 grams of feces sampled.
The team believes that the plastic is taken via the food chain (where people eat contaminated fish for example) and with small pieces of plastic that come from food Packaging, like bottles.
“Plastics are profound in everyday life and people are exposed to plastic in many ways,” said Schwabl in a Q & A before the presentation. “Personally, I did not expect any sample to be tested positively … At global level, plastic production and contamination of plastics correlate very strongly. Therefore, it is likely that the amount of plastic contamination may increase further if humanity does not change the current situation.”