Studies: Microplastics found in human stools for the first time

This article discusses microplastics found in human stools for the first time. Study suggests the tiny particles may be widespread in the human food chain.

Microplastics have been found in human stools for the first time, according to a study suggesting the tiny particles may be widespread in the human food chain.

The small study examined eight participants from Europe, Japan and Russia. All of their stool samples were found to contain microplastic particles.

Up to nine different plastics were found out of 10 varieties tested for, in particles of sizes ranging from 50 to 500 micrometres. Polypropylene and polyethylene terephthalate were the plastics most commonly found.

Previous studies on fish have also found plastics in the gut. Microplastics have been found in tap water around the world, in the oceans and in flying insects. A recent investigation in Italy also found microplastics present in soft drinks. In birds, the ingestion of plastic has been found to remodel the tiny fingerlike projections inside the small intestine, disrupt iron absorption and add to stress on the liver.

Scientists still know little about the effects of microplastics once they enter the human body, though many studies have already found them present in foods such as fish that people are likely to eat. The UK government has launched a study of health impacts.

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