Posted on by Christos Taltsidis

Micro plastics in Human Placenta!

Plastic has caused a menace on earth. Something that was made for human convenience is now choking the environment. So far, we have learned about the ill-effects of burning plastic and its non-biodegradable nature. There are many types of research going on to try and eradicate the environmental problems being caused by plastic. Now, to make things worse, traces of plastic have been discovered in the placenta of the women after they delivered their babies.

Findings of the research

In the research, the placentas of 6 women were examined by the Raman Micro spectroscopy after they gave birth. Surprisingly, four of them had traces of twelve micro plastic fragments. Only three percent of each collected placenta was examined. Based on the results, the researchers concluded that the entire placenta will be having a much higher concentration of micro plastics. The fragments discovered had sizes in the range of five to ten micrometers. Some were of perfect spherical shape while others were irregular.

The seriousness of the situation is revealed from the fact that the micro plastic fragments were found in both fetal and maternal sides, plus the chorioamnionitis membrane within which the fetus develops inside a womb. The fetal side had a higher number of fragments as compared to the maternal side and membranes.

For finding the source of such micro plastics in the body, the fragments were further categorized based on size and shape and finally. Three out of the 12 fragments were found to be polypropylene. This is a thermoplastic polymer that is found in shampoo bottles, sports equipment, grocery bags, drinking bottles, and many more daily use items. The remaining 9 fragments were found to be plastic particles that were dyed in cosmetics, personal care products, paints, finger paints, adhesives, and other such artificial coatings.

These findings have shed light on the extent to which humans are exposed to harmful micro particles of plastic.

Is micro plastic harmful to the fetus?

The impact of micro plastics on the human body is still something unknown to scientists. But we all know that micro plastics have various harmful chemicals that are not something needed inside the human body. The fetus inside a woman’s womb is highly sensitive to anything unnatural. Experts believe that such artificial components release chemicals that will harm the immune system and normal growth of the fetus in the long run.

If the mother breathes in or consumes such particles unknowingly, it is sure to reach her baby. While the mother feels no difference in her health, these particles may be impacting the fetus and alter its normal development process. Seeing the harm that plastic has been causing to our environment to date, it is safe to conclude that such microplastics will have a significant impact on the health of the mother and the fetus as the concentration keeps increasing.

How to reduce exposure to micro plastic?

Our lives are dominated by plastic products of all sorts. Be it toys, electronics, kitchenware, cosmetics, or clothes, plastic is present in everything. The dependence of people on plastic products is at an all-time high. This makes it impossible to completely avoid the use of plastic. Many of us are not aware of the fact that with the use of plastic products we are ingesting minute particles of it daily. The presence of such micro plastic fragments even in the fetus is an indication to the humans to cut down the exposure to the artificial products.

Here are a few simple things that we can practice in our day-to-day lives to reduce exposure to plastic particles:

Drink water from metal or glass tumblers. Avoid using plastic bottles or cups. These are a major source of micro plastics entering into the human system.

Stop heating your food in plastic containers. Not even in the micro-oven.

Avoid consuming packed food items and switch to fresh fruits and vegetables instead.

Keep the house clean and dust-free. The more the dust accumulated, the higher are the chances of micro plastics entering your body.

Switch to using cloth bags for shopping. Avoid the use of plastic bags. Also, when buying plastic products go for eco-friendly ones.

Plastic in humans

Importance of choosing the right clothing

A major source of micro plastics is the clothes we wear. Clothing made of plastic is a common sight in every wardrobe. Lycra, nylon, and polyester are some common plastic fibers that our clothes are made of. The durability and stretchability of these fibers attract buyers. However, these are not degradable naturally and micro plastics are constantly shed from these items of clothing. Therefore, it is advised that we should go for clothing made of natural fibers like cotton, wool, leather, silk, linen, and cashmere. These are naturally occurring substances that have no adverse health effects. It is especially recommended to the women in their pregnancy to reduce ingestion of micro plastic fragments.