“Made of plastic” may be taking on a whole new meaning.
In a recent study conducted by the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands, scientists found microplastics in the blood of nearly 80% of the test subjects. Before we look at the details of this study and what this means for us all, let's take a quick look at microplastics in general.
Plastics are non biodegradable, which means the tons of plastics we dump into our oceans and on land can’t be broken down naturally and transformed into organic matter. They never disappear.
What they do though, is break into smaller pieces continuously until they’re too small to be seen by the naked eye. They can deteriorate into microscopic particles between 1 micrometre and 5 millimetres - that’s what we call microplastics. At this point, they may no longer be visible but they are definitely still there. You can find more about microplastics here.
They begin travelling around the world through natural processes like the evaporation-rainfall cycle and end up everywhere- in our food, our makeup, the air and water. Based on a study by the University of Newcastle, it’s estimated that we are consuming about 100,000 tiny microplastics (250 grams) every year. Whilst previous studies show that they eventually move through our bodies and out this new finding indicates that we may begin to live the rest of our lives without ever getting rid of them because now, they’re in our blood.
Although the presence of microplastics in our bodies isn’t new information (past research has shown that these particles enter our bodies regularly during breathing or taking in food or drinks, and these then find their way into many of our body systems), what this new research does is shed light on a new location in our bodies where these microplastics can hide- our blood.
The study tested 22 candidates, of which 17 returned blood tests with plastic in them. The breakdown:
As this is a new finding though, the results vary a lot from person to person and a lot of more tests need to be run to get conclusive results on how much of an impact this makes on our health. However, this is what we know;
Insane how everyday items can have such a huge impact on us! This also shows how important our efforts to live plastic-free lives are- and striving for a zero-waste lifestyle is the best way to minimise your body’s exposure to plastic and the possible health ramifications of that.
The journey to zero plastic waste can be difficult to figure out though-which is why I created this weekly planner “Plastic Free Through The Year” to help guide you! Each week, you’ll be given new ways to make the sustainable transition and a template to keep yourself accountable and productive. Start your journey today.
Take action! Save and/or download this fact sheet. Take it with you and start a conversation. You can share it freely, I just ask that you credit Seas & Straws.
Click here to download your fact sheet on microplastic.