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A team of scientists in China recently found microplastics in the human heart for the first time. Microplastics................


A team of scientists in China recently found microplastics in the human heart for the first time.

About Microplastics:

  • Microplastics are tiny bits of various types of plastic found in the environment.
  • They are a result of the fragmentation and degradation of larger plastic items, as well as the direct release of tiny plastic particles, often intentionally added to consumer products like cosmetics and cleaning agents.
  • The name is used to differentiate them from “macroplastics” such as bottles and bags made of plastic.
  • There is no universal agreement on the size that fits this bill — the S. NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and the European Chemical Agency define microplastic as less than 5mm in length.

Primary and secondary microplastics

Microplastics are divided into two types: primary and secondary. Examples of primary microplastics include microbeads found in personal care products, plastic pellets (or nurdles) used in industrial manufacturing, and plastic fibres used in synthetic textiles (e.g., nylon). Primary microplastics enter the environment directly through any of various channels—for example, product use (e.g., personal care products being washed into wastewater systems from households), unintentional loss from spills during manufacturing or transport, or abrasion during washing (e.g., laundering of clothing made with synthetic textiles). Secondary microplastics form from the breakdown of larger plastics; this typically happens when larger plastics undergo weathering, through exposure to, for example, wave action, wind abrasion, and ultraviolet radiation from sunlight.

Environmental and health impacts

Microplastics are not biodegradable. Thus, once in the environment, primary and secondary microplastics accumulate and persist. Microplastics have been found in a variety of environments, including oceans and freshwater ecosystems. In oceans alone, annual plastic pollution, from all types of plastics, was estimated at 4 million to 14 million tons in the early 21st century. Microplastics also are a source of air pollution, occurring in dust and airborne fibrous particles. The health effects of microplastics inhalation are unknown.

By 2018, in marine and freshwater ecosystems combined, microplastics had been found in more than 114 aquatic species. Microplastics have been found lodged in the digestive tracts and tissues of various invertebrate sea animals, including crustaceans such as crabs. Fish and birds are likely to ingest microplastics floating on the water surface, mistaking the plastic bits for food. The ingestion of microplastics can cause aquatic species to consume less food and therefore to have less energy to carry out life functions, and it can result in neurological and reproductive toxicity. Microplastics are suspected of working their way up the marine food chains, from zooplankton and small fish to large marine predators.

Microplastics have been detected in drinking water, beer, and food products, including seafood and table salt. In a pilot study involving eight individuals from eight different countries, microplastics were recovered from stool samples of every participant. Scientists have also detected microplastics in human tissues and organs. The implications of these findings for human health were uncertain.

FAQs about Microplastics

Q1: What recent discovery has been made regarding microplastics?

Scientists in China have made a groundbreaking discovery by detecting microplastics within the human heart for the very first time.

Q2: What exactly are microplastics and how do they originate?

Microplastics are minuscule fragments of various plastic materials found in the environment. They emerge from the disintegration and deterioration of larger plastic objects, as well as the deliberate release of tiny plastic particles commonly added to consumer goods like cosmetics and cleaning products.

Q3: How are microplastics different from “macroplastics”?

The term “microplastics” distinguishes these tiny plastic particles from larger plastic items such as bottles and bags.

Q4: What is the size range for classifying microplastics?

There isn’t a universally agreed-upon size for microplastics. The U.S. NOAA and the European Chemical Agency define them as plastic particles measuring less than 5mm in length.

Read also:- Microplastics Found in Human Hearts

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