Italian researchers have made a worrying discovery – the presence of microplastics in the placentas of unborn babies.
The tests were carried out on the placentas of four healthy women who had normal pregnancies and births.
Approximately 4% of each placenta was analyzed and yet 12 different plastic particles were found. The concern is that the total number could be far greater.
The plastics which were discovered had been dyed in colors such as red, orange, blue and pink. It’s thought they may have originated from cosmetics, personal care products, packaging or paint.
The microplastics were found in the fetal and maternal sides of the placenta as well as in the membrane with contains the developing fetus.
The microplastics were around 10 microns in size (0.01mm), which enables them to be transported through the blood stream.
The scientists were however unable at this stage to assess whether the particles had entered the babies’ bodies.
Microplastics could create ‘cyborg’ babies
“It is like having a cyborg baby: no longer composed only of human cells, but a mixture of biological and inorganic entities,” study leader Antonio Ragusa was quoted saying. “The mothers were shocked.”
Ragusa is director of obstetrics and gynecology at the San Giovanni Calibita Fatebenefratelli hospital in Rome.
Among the possible consequences are reduced fetal growth and compromised immune systems.
The discovery of the extent to which microplastics are affecting us is relatively new and therefore the consequences are not yet fully understood.
But the scale of the problem is quickly becoming apparent, with microplastics found nearly everywhere – from the summit of Mount Everest to the bottom of our oceans.
It’s known that we digest microplastics when eating, drinking and just breathing. Another test showed that babies being fed formula milk in plastic bottles were ingesting millions of particles each day.
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