Dying due to plastic consumption seems an outrageous thought. But so was the idea that chemicals in plastic could change someone’s sexual orientation; until scientists proved it.
As explained in the link above, chemicals in plastic are responsible for countless diseases and, believe it or not, for the change in sexual orientation.
The effects that chemicals used in plastic have on animals have been proven without a doubt, and those same chemicals are ingested everyday by humans either in food, or drinking water.
As if plastic products shedding chemicals was not bad news, plastic microparticles are making their way into drinking water.
Plastic particles in water cleared for human consumption
We already knew that there were tiny fragments of this material that reached the seas, where they could be ingested by marine fauna and thus end up in the food that humans consume.
But now it turns out – perhaps more alarming – that a recent study has suggested that it is also common to find plastic particles or fibers in drinking water.
To what extent should we worry? The study was carried out by several university researchers, but instead of being reviewed by other researchers in a scientific journal, it was commissioned and published by a media company.
Of course, it is possible that many samples of drinking water contain plastic, given that it is a common material that often passes into the environment in the form of garbage as well as fibers from garments. made with artificial materials.
Surely the purifying treatments do not manage to eliminate the particles.
For example, sedimentation techniques consist of allowing the specks of clay, silt or organic matter to settle to the bottom of a purification tank.
Many plastic micro particles are less dense than water, so they float and can not be removed.
But what we also do not know is what happens with these micro fragments once they are in the intestine.
It could be that they passed through the body without being absorbed, just like the non-digestible fiber of the food.
However, the smaller they are, the more likely they are to reach the bloodstream and even the cells.
The study in question looked for plastic particles larger than 2.5 microns, which are about 10 times smaller than the cells that line the intestine.
Nano particles of 0.1 microns or less are more likely to penetrate cells, but we do not know if they are present in drinking water because the researchers did not look for them.
Artificial substances have been introduced into the human body for at least 400,000 years, when Palaeolithic cave dwellers inhaled the soot particles from the first bonfires that ignited in the cavities.
But there are many cases of corpuscles with harmful effects on health.
For example, clay specks cause podoconiosis, a form of elephantiasis, to around 1.5 million Africans.
As for the inhalation of asbestos particles, it is the cause of a very aggressive form of lung cancer.
We also have strong evidence that exposure to suspended particles is harmful, and that these corpuscles reach the bloodstream.
Researchers have found particles from combustion engines in human brains.
The harmful effects of water and air pollution
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that every year there are more than six million deaths related to air pollution.
That is to say, there is a whole series of possible harmful effects for health that have to do with exposure to particles.
There is no conclusive evidence that the plastic micro particles discovered in the study on drinking water can reach the blood or that they are harmful to human health, but they have several potentially harmful effects.
As with other corpuscles, such as those found in air pollution, can cause inflammation, an immune response to any element that is recognized as “alien” to the body, which, in turn, can be harmful.
Another possible problem is that the plastic micro particles can become vehicles of entry of other toxins to the body.
In general, this class of microscopic fragments repel water and combine with insoluble toxins.
For example, they can be combined with compounds that contain toxic metals, such as mercury, and with organic pollutants such as some pesticides and the chemical known as dioxin, which we know causes cancer and reproductive and developmental problems.
If the micro particles are introduced into the body, the toxins can accumulate in the fatty tissues.
At present, we do not have unequivocal evidence that the microscopic fragments of plastic present in drinking water have harmful effects on health, but, since they may have other kinds of corpuscles, it is urgent that we improve our knowledge of what happens with micro particles of water. plastic in the body.