Scientists find microplastics in human stool for first time

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Presenting their findings at a congress in Vienna on Tuesday, researchers from the Medical University of Vienna and the Environment Agency Austria said their pilot study detected so-called microplastics in all samples taken from eight volunteers in Europe, Russia and Japan. "And how can we avoid plastic entering our bodies?'"

"Plastics are unavoidable in regular day to day existence and humans are exposed to plastics in numerous ways", Schwabl said in a Q&A.

Researchers suggested the plastic could come from the packaging the food is contained in, or the techniques used to process or manufacture it.

Microplastics are tiny particles of plastic less than 5 millimetres in size that occur when plastic products break down.

In total, nine of 10 distinct types of microplastics were identified in the samples.

Those taking part - none of whom were vegetarian - kept a food diary in the week preceding their stool sampling.

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In addition, last month at the University of reading (UK) conducted an experiment with larvae of mosquitoes and found that they learned to eat the microplastics, which remains even in the adult individuals.

"It is the first research of its kind and confirms what we have long suspected that plastics eventually reach the human intestine", said Sabbell.

Future work will also need to explore what, if any, negative health impacts microplastics might have on the body via physical damage to the gut or other organs, or due to the introduction of plastics' chemical additives.

Although it is still unclear where exactly each fragment came from, Schwabl noted that "it is highly likely that during various steps of food processing, or as a result of packaging, food is being contaminated with plastics".

On average, the scientists found 20 microplastic particles in every 10 grams of stool.

Now, we can add one more microplastic repository to the list: the human gut.

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The most common plastic particles found were polypropylene - used in plastic molding and diapers - and polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is most common in soft drink bottles.

Presenting his results to a United European Gastroenterology conference in Vienna he said each specimen tested positive for microplastics. Previous research has shown that there were found big amounts of microplastics in tuna, lobster, and shrimp. Swabi has said that now that they have the ability to detect microplastics in stool a much larger study can be performed.

Waste plastic bottles and other types of plastic waste at disposal site. Six of the participants consumed wild fish, and researchers found that all of them were exposed to the microplastics from consuming food and beverages, which were wrapped or packaged in plastic.

"We know that they're in drinking water; we know that they're in different things that we eat and so it's no surprise that it is in our gut and then in our feces", Chelsea Rochman, an assistant professor of biology at the University of Toronto, told CTV News.

The news in another clear warning signs that non-biodegradable materials are clogging up our planet but some environmentalists say we're becoming too fixated on the quest to eradicate plastic and it's causing us to lose sight of the overall aim-to reduce our carbon emissions.

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