Even before you were born and were developing in your mother’s womb, you were exposed to microplastics. Later, at your mother’s breast, you began to drink microplastic-infused milk, which then ran on your blood-vessel freeways to every organ in your body. Is that OK?
Yes, it’s a rhetorical question because plastics aren’t supposed to be in your blood, much less your brain. But research is revealing disturbing facts about the extent of plastic pollution and its far-reaching consequences.
According to research, microplastics can cross the placenta and enter breast milk, where infants can then consume them. The use of plastic feeding bottles and teething toys raises the risk. What about smoothie shakers made of plastic? Do they also provide another dose of microplastics with the drink?
Ecologists have discovered that microplastics frequently get into foods like salt, honey, and sugar, and some research indicates that people consume more than 100,000 microplastic particles annually. It was no surprise when one scientist estimated that there are 24.4 trillion microplastics in the world’s upper oceans.
Microplastics can be absorbed through the skin through personal care items like exfoliating skincare gels, in addition to being inhaled or consumed. These minute particles contaminate human bodies and are found almost everywhere in the natural environment.
Plastics play such an ingrained role in our lives that eliminating them is almost unthinkable or nonexistent in our current world. What would we do without plastic? Converting from supermarket bags to bringing our own to carry groceries is worthy of a comic’s routine in a club. It’s less than an itch on the belly of a flea in terms of the billions of pieces of microplastic pollution circulating our planet, much less the incalculable tons floating in our oceans and polluting our shorelines.
These microparticles are in our food, the water we drink, the air we breathe, and even in places we have no idea they might exist, like hospital tubing, medical supplies, etc. Plastics have overtaken our world, and not in a good way at all. If they clog our waterways, what do you think they do to us internally in our circulatory system and our brain?
Our brains require a constant, surging flow of blood-filled nutrients and oxygen to work effectively. If those nutrients also help carry microplastics to our brain that somehow worm their way through the blood-brain barrier and into that delicate tissue, what might be the result? Researchers are asking that question, too.
Can we protect ourselves from the invasion of microplastics into our bodies? It seems we can’t. The most common microplastic particles in our environment originate from car tire dust, artificial grass, and washing of clothes made of artificial fibers. Humans are exposed to microplastics mainly through nutrition and air, and although this exposure is known to happen on a daily basis, the health effects of microplastics remain largely unknown.
What about our brains? There is another study that addresses this danger. We now demonstrate that nanoplastics can be deposited in the brain via nasal inhalation, triggering neuron toxicity and altering…behavior.
The researchers also suggested that the presence of microplastics could contribute to neurological impairments in fetuses and children. Studies have shown that the presence of nanoplastic particles in the brain reduced vital brain enzymes that were found to malfunction in the brains of patients with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
The long-term effects of microplastic exposure on human health require further study. In the interim, plastics production is at ever-increasing levels, meaning the risk for all of us and future generations is reaching extremely dangerous levels. It is not a medication, a vaccine, or a lifestyle issue, but an environmental one, and this one is external and internal.