scientists have discovered hundreds of microplastics in human poo
scientists have discovered hundreds of microplastics in human poo
oct 23, 2018

scientists have discovered hundreds of microplastics in human poo

researchers have found evidence that microplastics accumulate in human feces. defined by their size – less than .02 inches long – these extremely small pieces of plastic beads, fibers, or fragments, were discovered in the human stool samples of eight participants from all over the world, including italy, japan, poland, the netherlands, russia, the united kingdom, finland, and austria. earlier this year designboom reported that 90% of plastic bottles of water contain microplastics, a fact deduced from a study that found concentrations of up to 10,000 plastic pieces in every litre of water tested. now this new discovery, scientists are suggesting that as well as infiltrating our oceans microplastics may be widespread within the human food chain too.


scientists from the environment agency austria and the medical university of vienna analyzed the samples as part of a study that recorded what participants ate in the week prior to their stool sampling. most participants drank liquids from plastic bottles, but also ate fish and seafood. when tested, up to nine different kinds of plastics were detected, ranging in size from .002 to .02 inches. polypropylene and polyethylene terephthalate were the plastics most commonly found — both major components of plastic bottles and caps.

scientists have discovered hundreds of microplastics in human poo

polypropylene and polyethylene terephthalate are major components of plastic bottles and caps



the new paper, which was presented monday at a gastroenterology conference in vienna, could provide support for marine biologists who have long warned of the dangers posed by microplastics in our oceans. it is not news that researchers have long suspected microplastics could be present in the human food chain as a result. one study estimates that people who eat shellfish may be consuming as much as 11,000 plastic pieces per year because of their ingestion of microplastics in the ocean. the study also acknowledges the likeliness that food is being contaminated with plastics during food processing or possibly, as a result of packaging.


based on this study, the authors estimate that ‘more than 50% of the world population might have microplastics in their stools‘. they did however stress that larger-scale studies would be needed to confirm this. ‘the smallest microplastic particles are capable of entering the bloodstream, the lymphatic system, and may even reach the liver,’ said philipp schwabl, a researcher at the medical university of vienna who led the study. ‘now that we have the first evidence for microplastics inside humans, we need further research to understand what this means for human health.’

  • Plastic cutting boards in kitchen where foods are chopped into pieces are also the main source of micro plastic “contamination”. When your knife cuts into them it slices small fibers of plastic out of it and with the heat during cooking these plastic fibers roll into small balls or deteriorate even smaller pieces. Just look how many kerf you see in an average kitchen cutting board that were made by a knife! Get rid of these plastic cutting boards and replace them with a wooden one that carved out/made in one piece (glue-lam and laminated bamboo cutting boards contain toxic glue too, not mentioning the bacteria/virus it holds…). Oh and I haven’t even talked about the plastic stirring spoons that you grind against the inside bottom of a hot pan full of food…get rid of these too spoons too! Eat safe!

  • In fact, scientists already know very well that there is no polymerization reaction that has 100% yield. In this way, the unpolymerized monomers are free to dissolve in food and cause from cellular changes, to genetic mutations, altering glandular functions and inhibiting hormones. All these changes are highly harmful, not to mention that some of these monomers are highly carcinogenic, as is the case of styrene, whose polymerization produces polystyrene, better known as ISOPOR and which is one of the most used man-made packaging today, along with polypropylene and PET, less aggressive than polystyrene.
    There is a great and perverse permissiveness of the health administration organs regarding the use of plastics in general, for the reduced cost of the packaging made with these materials and for the overwhelming strength of the global polymer market.
    It is known of the pollution that they cause, it is known of the islands that form in the seas, it is known of the intoxication that they provoke in the marine life, of the enormous damages to the human health and the environmental pollution.
    Only there is no political will to prevent such toxic spread, combined with the consistent counterpart of recycling and biodegradability, so that all of them are more tested before their use in food packaging and before being massively dumped in nature.
    All this, not to mention the carbon fibers, increasingly used in the automotive industry and parts built with various types of rubber, such as tires, whose natural degradation goes beyond thousands of years.

    Sérgio Werneck de Figueiredo

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