Researchers have found tiny pieces of plastics in live human lungs, in apparent proof that humans are breathing plastic elements from the air. This is also the first time that microplastics are found in live human lungs.
It was discovered by the University of Hull and Hull York Medical School as they found plastics less than 0.2 of an inch (5mm) in diameter in a deep section of human lungs.
Researchers never considered this to be possible as airways are extremely narrow. But previously particles were found in human cadaver autopsy samples.
It came as recently tiny pieces of plastics were found in human blood, showing that such particles are present in a large part of the human body.
The study team has revealed humans are inhaling microplastics and stressed that they are now focusing on the impacts of microplastics on human health.
39 Microplastics Were Discovered?
The study is published in the Science of the Total Environment and has discovered 39 microplastics in 11 of the 13 lung tissue samples tested, which are much higher than all previous tests.
'Microplastics have previously been found in human cadaver autopsy samples; this is the first robust study to show microplastics in lungs from live people. It also shows that they are in the lower parts of the lung. Lung airways are very narrow so no one thought they could possibly get there, but they clearly have "said Laura Sadofsky, lead author of the paper.
The live lung tissue for the study was supplied by surgeons at Castle Hill Hospital in East Yorkshire from surgical procedures carried on patients who were alive.
Researchers have revealed that the study has provided key information related to microplastics, air pollution, and human health.
What Kinds of Plastics Were Found?
Researchers found 12 types of microplastics in human lungs that are used in clothing, packaging bottles, rope, or in the manufacturing process. Tiny plastics were in higher amounts in male lungs when compared to female lungs, according to the Daily Mail.
In the upper part of the lungs 11, microplastics were discovered, seven were found in the mid part and 21 were found in the lower part. Researchers had never considered that they would find the highest number of particles in the lower sections of the lungs.