Microplastics have been discovered in the human placenta for the first time. The placenta provides nutrients and oxygen to the fetus. According to Italian researchers, microplastics were detected on both sides, the maternal and the fetal.
Microplastics are plastics that measure less than 5mm and enter the natural ecosystem through various sources such as paint, synthetic clothing, even some food packaging materials, and the breakdown of larger pieces of plastics. They vitiate the environment as they are non-biodegradable.
Researchers studied the placenta of 6 women. The placentas were analyzed using the Raman micro-spectroscopy that can detect microplastics.
An analysis of just 4% of the placenta was enough to reveal 12 bits of plastic particles, with the majority of them concentrated on the fetal part of the placenta. The microplastics were of different sizes and colors. Three of the products detected were polypropylene. The rest were not identified but researchers were able to confirm that the pigments were usually used in paints, cosmetics, polymers, and adhesives.
The average size of the microplastics was around 10 microns (0.01mm) and was tiny enough to course easily through the bloodstream. The researchers suspect that the particles might have ended up in the babies’ bodies.
Microplastics In Human Body Before Birth A Matter Of Concern
The researchers expressed great concern about the presence of plastic particles in the placenta. They said that more research was needed to assess if their presence could lead to immune responses or release toxic contaminants in the body.
Researchers believe that the presence of plastic particles in the human body including the fetus could impede growth. Two women had no plastics in their body which indicates a different diet, lifestyle, or physiology.
Plastic particles have been found in the Arctic ice, on the Himalayan mountains, and even in the deepest ocean trenches. People regularly consume it through water and food and even breathe them regularly.
There have been no thorough studies conducted on the effects that these plastics have on humans, especially babies and children. The plastic bottle used to bottle-feed children is a major cause of millions of microplastics entering their bodies. Air pollutants have also been found to deposit plastic particles in the human placenta. It has led to the worrying conclusion that humans are already pre-polluted before they enter the world.