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Microplastics have been found in the human heart for the first time ever

Charisa Bossinakis

Published 
| Last updated 

Microplastics have been found in the human heart for the first time ever

Featured Image Credit: LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP via Getty Images. MEHDI FEDOUACH/AFP via Getty Images

Microplastics have been found in human hearts for the first time ever.

Although Aqua claimed, ‘Life in plastic, it’s fantastic', this isn’t exactly what we had in mind.

According to a new study published in the Environmental Science and Technology, doctors made the discovery at Beijing Anzhen Hospital in China while observing the heart tissue of 15 patients who underwent cardiovascular surgery.

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Doctors analyzed patients’ hearts using a laser direct infrared chemical imaging system and scanning electron microscopy, leading them to uncover tiny plastic pieces less than five millimeters long.

Credit: alexey_ds/Getty Images
Credit: alexey_ds/Getty Images

“We used a laser direct infrared chemical imaging system and scanning electron microscopy to investigate whether microplastics exist in the human heart and its surrounding tissues,” the study said.

Researchers could ‘detect tens to thousands of individual microplastic pieces in most tissue samples’ and also looked at blood samples of patients.

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Shockingly, they found microplastic particles in blood samples too.

In total, nine different types of plastics were uncovered, with the longest being 469 millimeters.

Credit: Halfdark/Getty Images
Credit: Halfdark/Getty Images

The study concluded that more research needs to be conducted to determine the impact of these microplastics on the body.

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“Further research is needed to examine the impact of surgery on microplastic introduction and the potential effects of microplastics in internal organs on human health,” it said.

But how exactly did these tiny pieces of plastic enter the human body, you ask?

Well, considering there’s plastic almost everywhere, in our clothes, food packaging, disposable coffee cups, even chewing gum - yes, really - it was only a matter of time before they became entrapped inside human organs.

Forbes reported that microplastics have even been discovered inside human stools, lungs and placentas.

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But this is the first time we’ve seen microplastic inside a human heart.

Professor Dick Vethaak, an ecotoxicologist at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands, told The Guardian that many questions arise from this discovery, adding it highlights the damage pollution is causing.

“It is certainly reasonable to be concerned,” Professor Vethaak said.

“The particles are there and are transported throughout the body.”

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He added: “Are the particles retained in the body? Are they transported to certain organs, such as getting past the blood-brain barrier?

"And are these levels sufficiently high to trigger disease? We urgently need to fund further research so we can find out.

“The problem is becoming more urgent with each day."

Topics: News, Science, Health

Charisa Bossinakis
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