Scientists have discovered microplastics in human blood for the first time. They have warned that the ubiquitous particles could also be making their way into organs.
The tiny pieces of mostly invisible plastic have already been found almost everywhere else on Earth. It is from the deepest oceans to the highest mountains as well as in the air, soil and food chain.
The study was published in the Environment International journal. The study examined blood samples from 22 anonymous, healthy volunteers and found microplastics in nearly 80 percent of them.
Half of the blood samples showed traces of PET plastic. It widely used to make drink bottles. More than a third had polystyrene. It is used for disposable food containers and many other products.
Scientists said the microplastics could have entered the body by many routes such as air, water or food. But it could also enter via products such as toothpastes, lip glosses and tattoo ink.
There could be other kinds of microplastics in blood which the study did not pick up. It could not detect particles larger than the diameter of the needle used to take the sample. The study was funded by the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development as well as Common Seas. It is a UK-based group aimed at reducing plastic pollution.