Hyderabad: Research shows that majority of the microplastics found in our bodies come from the air we breathe.
That confirms that apart from drinking bottled water or eating infected fish from oceans, microplastics can be inhaled due to their small size and may induce a wide range of diseases, including respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, as well as cancer.
More than 300 million tonnes of plastics are produced each year and half of that becomes trash in less than a year. Out of the plastic produced, only nine per cent is recycled and the remaining 91 per cent enters the air, land and water as waste.
According to the study, the parts that end up in our lungs remain on the lung tissue or enter the blood stream as the body is not able to get rid of the tiny plastic particles. Babies who crawl on the floor are the most vulnerable, and children more generally are at risk as their respiratory systems are still under development.
Subba Rao, a senior environmentalist, said: “It is true that when plastic is burnt in open air, it releases dioxins and these toxic gases are very harmful. These gases induce male hormones in women causing Thyroid problems, change in voice, and hair growth in undesired areas’’.
Kalyani Gorre, an environmentalist said: “Microplastics and nanoplastics are a global concern as there are adverse effects from micro/nanoplastics which may result from a combination of the plastic’s intrinsic toxicity (physical damage); chemical composition (monomericunits and additives); and ability to adsorb, concentrate, and release environmental pollutants.’’
“Microplastics which get accumulated in the liver, kidneys and intestines increase the levels of oxidative stress molecules in the liver. It also increases the level of a molecule that may be toxic to the brain. Microplastics in the air may cause lung cells to produce inflammatory chemical,” she said.
“Phthalates, a type of chemical used to make plastic flexible, have been shown to increase the growth of breast cancer cells. Cancer may also be caused due to chronic inflammation or from gene mutation,” the environmentalist added....