Plastic effects on humans can be damaging
We’re ingesting plastics daily. In fact, around a credit card size per week. The effects plastic can have on humans are still not 100% clear, but there’s enough to be worried about from recent studies.
So, it’s no secret to most of us looking to lead a healthier lifestyle that ridding our life of plastics is one of the top things to tackle. From take away containers to cleaning products – plastic is everywhere you look. But did you know that plastic can be found in some places you might have never thought about?
If you think it’s not possible to find traces of plastic inside the human body – think twice. Microplastics, as defined by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the European Chemicals Agency, are fragments of larger plastic pieces measuring less than 5mm. For reference, 5mm is the size of a pencil-top eraser!
These microplastics sneak their way into your body via food, water, and even the air we breathe, and end up in more places than most of us thought possible.
Plastic effects on humans
- Placenta: A study run by the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of San Giovanni Calibita Fatebenefratelli Hospital in Rome (Italy) using Raman microspectroscopy, found that microplastics were clearly present in all placental portions including maternal, fetal and amniochorial membranes.
- Microplastics have been known to act as endocrine disruptors which can cause developmental delays in fetuses.
- Faeces: The Medical University of Vienna in Austria ran a stool study in 2019 to analyze the possible detection of microplastics in human faeces. All the samples analyzed tested positive for traces of plastic.
- Studies have shown microplastics can affect the reproduction of marine species, so there’s a possible correlation between how it might affect the human reproductive system over time as well.
- Organs & Tissue: In order to check for the existence of nano and microplastics in the human body, a group of researchers from Arizona State University ran a controlled study of various human organs and tissues.
- Bisphenol A, a type of plastic commonly used in take away containers, was found in every single sample analysed.
Is Recycling Plastic Enough?
Maybe you already started your plastic free journey, and have been recycling your hand sanitiser bottle on a regular basis. Unfortunately, recycling doesn’t do much to fix the issue. In fact, it can sometimes even make it worse.
Plastic pollution is so ingrained in the world we live in, that recycling is no longer enough. Even more, recycling itself is a complicated and difficult process that varies from country to country. It requires specific infrastructure that not every nation has financial means to access.
Incoming garbage must be sorted, by hand, based on the different type of melting points each kind of plastic has. Anything that can’t be melted at the plant it ends up at means that it has to be transported to another one that can. More traveling means a bigger carbon footprint. Added to that is the fact that any type of contamination on the plastic pieces means it automatically can’t be melted anymore.
So, recycling can actually create added pollution instead of helping mitigate the environmental effects of plastic.
How can you create a healthier, plastic free life?
The answer is trying your very best to go 100% plastic free. But, you don’t have to do it alone! Aim Plastic Free is here to make sure you have all the knowledge you need to lead a better life. Sign up for our plastic free challenge, and receive daily tips and ideas on how to go plastic free for 365 days.
Jump start your way to a healthier, cleaner, and 100% plastic free world.
Keyword: Plastic effects on humans
- The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/aug/17/microplastic-particles-discovered-in-human-organs#:~:text=People%20are%20also%20known%20to,traces%20of%20plastic%20in%20tissue.
- Science Direct: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412020322297
- GESAMP: http://www.gesamp.org/publications/microplastics-in-the-marine-environment-part-2
- American College of Physicians: https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M19-0618