Plastic particles - or microplastics - have been found in human feces

26 October, 2018, 01:09 | Author: Dwayne Harmon
  • Plastic is washed into the ocean where it disintegrates into tiny particles

Even more, some Austrian researchers conducted a study that revealed that you have tiny plastic pieces in your stomach.

Scientists from the Medical University of Vienna and the Environment Agency Austria have presented their discoveries at the 26th United European Gastroenterology (UEG) Week being held in Vienna, Austria.

Two Austrian researchers, Dr. Philipp Schwabl from the Medical University of Vienna, and Dr. Bettina Liebmann, from the Environment Agency Austria, studied participants from countries including Finland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, the United Kingdom and Austria. "Of particular concern is what this means to us, and especially patients with gastrointestinal diseases", Schwabl said in a statement.

In the pilot study one participant was selected as a representative of each of the eight countries - keeping a food diary in the week prior to providing the sample.

Unsafe microplastics - usually found in the soil, oceans, tap and bottled water - have now soiled our poop too. Lead researcher Dr. Philipp Schwabl said his team's findings are just the first step to understand just what impact plastic is having on our bodies as well as our habitats. In addition, many US cities are moving to ban plastic straws and single-use items such as cotton swabs and drink stirrers, which can break down into microplastics.

Microplastics are particles of plastic less than 5 millimetres and are used in various products.

Global plastic production has grown to more than 400 million tonnes a year, and an estimated two to five per cent of it winds up in the ocean.

While it should be noted that there have been scientific criticisms of some of these studies, there is strong concern that microplastics are becoming an increasing problem with as yet undetermined negative consequences on marine, animal, and human health.

"Most participants drank liquids from plastic bottles, but also fish and seafood ingestion was common", he said.

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The diaries also showed that none of the participants were vegetarians and six of them consumed sea fish.

The study further found that, altogether, roughly one third of 876 fish and shrimp examined from both estuaries had ingested microplastics. I did not expect that each sample would test positive.

In the small study of participants from Europe, Russia and Japan, all eight were found to have microplastic particles in their stool samples.

"What is unknown is whether the concentration of plastic being ingested is higher than that coming out, due to particles crossing the gut wall", she said.

Experts said they were not surprised by the findings, which provide further evidence of the widespread presence of microplastics in our environment and the damaging effects of plastic pollution in the world's oceans.

Waste plastic bottles and other types of plastic waste at disposal site.

The researchers fear the plastic could also come from the packaging the food is contained in, or the techniques used to process or manufacture it.

In total, nine of 10 distinct types of microplastics were identified in the samples. Founder of a British Organic food company Guy Singh-Watson told BBC news that the public's tunnel vision over recycling could even be unsafe.

Dr Stephanie Wright, a research fellow at King's College London, said "the fact that so many different polymers were measured suggests a wide range of contamination sources".

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