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Microplastics have found their way into the human food chain

Recent research has revealed how people are unknowingly ingesting thousands of pieces of microplastics each year. 

One study found polypropylene and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) particles in stool samples taken from participants across the globe.

Microplastics have entered the human food chain, and everything from seafood to bottled water could be a culprit.  

Researchers from the Medical University of Vienna and the Environment Agency Austria monitored participants across the world from countries including Finland, Italy, Japan, and the UK. 

Participants were asked to keep a food diary for a week and provide a stool sample. Plastic particles were found in every single sample, and the researchers found around 20 pieces of microplastics per ten grams of stool. 

On average, we could be eating 73,000 plastic particles every year through disposable food containers, plastic water bottles, seafood, and other sources.  

The researchers tested the samples at the Environment Agency Austria looking for ten types of plastic using a new analyzing technique. The 2018 study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine found as many as nine different plastics of various sizes in the samples. 

“This is the first study of its kind and confirms what we have long suspected, that plastics ultimately reach the human gut,” said Dr. Philipp Schwabl, the lead researcher for the study. “Now that we have first evidence for microplastics inside humans, we need further research to understand what this means for human health.”

There’s a chance that some microplastics could enter the bloodstream or damage our gastrointestinal tract. 

Each year more than 350 million tons of plastic are produced and the researchers say more studies must be done to understand how microplastics impact human health. 

The World Health Organization has answered that call and compiled a comprehensive review of microplastics and the impacts of ingesting plastic particles through drinking water

By Kay Vandette, Staff Writer 

Image Credit: Shutterstock/Pcess609

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