SEP 04, 2019 7:30 AM PDT

Microplastics are Everywhere, Including Human Stool

WRITTEN BY: Tiffany Dazet

Microplastics have infiltrated the planet, from remote mountain regions to the deepest parts of the ocean. Because of the extensive reach of these microscopic pollutants via air, water, or the food chain, scientists are exploring the origins of and quantity of microplastics entering human bodies. Scientists from the Medical University of Vienna in Austria recently conducted a study examining human stool samples for microplastics. Their peer-reviewed paper was published in Annals of Internal Medicine yesterday. 

The video below was created earlier this year when initial research results were released. 

The objective of the study was simple—to examine human stool samples for the presence of microplastics, which were likely accidentally ingested. According to Reuters, eight volunteers were asked to keep a food diary for a week and then submit a stool sample to the research team. The volunteers were from Japan, Russia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Italy, Poland, Finland, and Austria. Diary entries showed six of the eight volunteers consumed fish, none were vegetarians, and all eight subjects were exposed to plastic through food wrappers or bottles.

Of the eight samples examined, all of them tested positive with a median of 20 microplastics in each 10-gram sample. Nine different types of plastic were identified. The two most common type of plastic identified in the samples were polypropylene and polyethylene terephthalate, which are two of the most common types of plastic used worldwide.

The research team acknowledges their small sample size, with only eight participants each contributing one stool sample. In the peer-review publication, the team states: “Larger studies are needed to validate these findings. Moreover, research on the origins of microplastics ingested by human, potential intestinal absorption, and effects on human health is urgently needed.”

 

Sources: Annals Abstract, Annals Article, Reuters

About the Author
  • Tiffany grew up in Southern California, where she attended San Diego State University. She graduated with a degree in Biology with a marine emphasis, thanks to her love of the ocean and wildlife. With 13 years of science writing under her belt, she now works as a freelance writer in the Pacific Northwest.
You May Also Like
DEC 28, 2020
Cancer
Revealing a Critical Protein Involved in the Pentose Phosphate Pathway in Cancer
DEC 28, 2020
Revealing a Critical Protein Involved in the Pentose Phosphate Pathway in Cancer
The metabolism of cancer has interested scientists in recent decades. Many cancers conduct "normal" metabolism ...
DEC 29, 2020
Cardiology
Does Physical Activity Help Reduce the Risk of Aneurysms?
DEC 29, 2020
Does Physical Activity Help Reduce the Risk of Aneurysms?
An active lifestyle is a proven way to prevent many types of cardiovascular diseases. The increased blood flow can preve ...
DEC 29, 2020
Microbiology
How CRISPR Can Help Create a Vaccine for a Common Parasite
DEC 29, 2020
How CRISPR Can Help Create a Vaccine for a Common Parasite
The parasite Toxoplasma gondii is thought to infect a third of the people on the planet as well as a wide range of other ...
JAN 03, 2021
Microbiology
Flu Season is Off to a Very Slow Start
JAN 03, 2021
Flu Season is Off to a Very Slow Start
The flu season would have typically been well underway by mid-December in a normal year. But this year, there are few ca ...
JAN 11, 2021
Cancer
Sentinel Nodes Could Reveal a Tumor's Prognosis
JAN 11, 2021
Sentinel Nodes Could Reveal a Tumor's Prognosis
For many diseases, the ability to quickly and effectively diagnose or prognose a patient is critical. If caught early on ...
JAN 13, 2021
Plants & Animals
San Diego Zoo's Gorillas Positive for COVID-19
JAN 13, 2021
San Diego Zoo's Gorillas Positive for COVID-19
Earlier this week, the Associated Press reported that several gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park tested positive ...
Loading Comments...