It was a quiet and serene afternoon in MysticLand. The Gifted Four were lounging in their dorm room. Verum suddenly looked up from her crystal ball and said, “Now I know why Felix took us on the drive to pick up plastic waste. And why the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) decided to form a committee to end plastic pollution…”
“Why? What happened?” said Scorch.
“A study published in a journal called Environment International has detected microplastics in human blood. It is the first study to have found this,” said Verum, “Microplastics are small plastic pieces less than five millimeters in length. They are found everywhere on the Earth — from the peak of Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world, to the depths of the ocean. Plastic pollution has covered the planet.”
“Oh, I have heard they are found in marine animals and birds. Microplastics are quite harmful to them,” said Felix.
“In that case, what about humans? Are they harmful to humans?” said Orak.
“The scientists don’t know the impact of microplastics on human health yet,” replied Verum, “But in the laboratory, they have been found to damage human cells. Cells are the smallest unit of organisms.
See, people were already breathing in and swallowing microplastics. For instance, when babies are fed with plastic bottles, they end up swallowing millions of microplastic particles.
This study checked their presence in human blood. Scientists analyzed samples from 22 anonymous healthy human donors. Out of these, 17 were found to contain microplastics. Different samples contained different kinds of plastics.
PET plastic was found in half of the samples. It is used in drinks bottles. One-third samples contained a plastic called polystyrene which is used in food packaging. Polyethylene was found in a quarter of the samples. Plastic bags are made from it.”
“That sounds worrying,” said Orak, “But this is an initial study. Is further research being conducted?”
“Well, the researchers agree it is needed,” replied Verum, “Let’s hope they can study this in greater detail.”