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Microplastics are everywhere. Why don’t we know how they make us sick?

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The Washington Post or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: Microplastics and nanoplastics, found in human blood, organs, and even inhaled air, raise alarming concerns about their health effects, which remain largely unknown despite their widespread presence in the environment and the human body

🔭 The context: The discovery of microplastics in various parts of the human body, including the placenta, blood, and major organs, has prompted researchers to investigate their potential impacts on health
• However, the diversity of microplastics, in terms of chemical composition, shape, and size, complicates this task, making it difficult to draw direct correlations between microplastics exposure and specific health outcomes

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: The pervasive spread of microplastics poses a significant challenge to environmental and public health, highlighting the urgent need for more comprehensive research to understand their effects
• As plastic production continues to surge, the potential for generational accumulation of microplastics in the environment and the human body raises grave concerns for future health impacts

⏭️ What's next: Researchers emphasize the necessity of advancing study methods to better detect and analyze microplastics in the human body, aiming to establish clearer connections between microplastics exposure and disease
• Meanwhile, there are calls for regulatory bodies to adopt precautionary measures to mitigate the proliferation of plastics, despite the current gaps in our understanding of their health effects

💬 One quote: "It’s almost like a generational accumulation," (Phoebe Stapletonprofessor of pharmacology and toxicology at Rutgers University)

📈 One stat: Microplastics were found in every single one of 62 placentas studied, signaling their alarming penetration into human bodies

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