This past week, a study was published which concluded that ultrafine polymer particulates, aka, microplastics, are present in a high percentage (80%) of test subjects’ blood. While the study was small, apparently only tested for 3 common polymers, and drew no connection with human health, the ramifications are extremely concerning. For me, this raises issues about plastic food and water storage, as well as utensils and nonstick cookware.
It may not be merely a matter of chemical or immunological toxicity, either. Polymers that are generally recognized as inert, like PTFE, could be found to accumulate and mechanically interfere with or block bodily processes. For instance, it’s known that microplastics discharged from clotheswashers shortens the life of septic systems.
How many Onions think this is any cause for concern?
PS: The features that allow emphasis are great. Thanks, Sampson!
I certainly don’t know what polymers will do to the body, but I recall an article I read last year that the one of the reasons why young kids are so flexible while old people have joint problems, flexibility problems is the water they drink. All the invisible little things in the water we drink over the years accumulate inside joints and the body and make us barely able to move around when we get old…
I suspect plastic is ubiquitous in our food and water. For example if milk is transformed into cheese in plastic molds and aged in plastic packaging, I’m likely eating plastic. I spent my 20s brewing hot tea in a nalgene bottle in an effort to reduce paper waste. And so on…
I am more interested in the original paper that shows a connection between joint pain and what we drink. In general i think we underestimate the impact of different pollutants and our health but at the same time I have problems with a study based on 22 individuals - there is a reason how we run clinical studies and the importance that it is powered enough to have statistical reasonable meaning.
I remember seeing this. Same reaction as before - yikes!
What’s always hard is changing one’s own behavior even when you know what needs to happen. I don’t heat in plastic, but I do use it for storage. I have a nonstick pan that I use every once in a while (not for eggs but for pan-fried dumplings, go figure). And so on.
I grew up with all stainless steel or glass storage, all metal cookware and tools. Then everything shifted, and now we need to shift back - but its happening very slowly, because inertia is powerful.
I agree that there are limitations to a study with small numbers of study subjects, especially one without controls and without the intent or statistical power to make correlations between the serum test findings and health outcomes.
This may not be a hypothesis-based study, rather it appears to be exploratory.
In spite of these limitations, the findings are of great interest, which explains why it received mainstream media attention. Exploratory studies are often unfunded, which may explain the relatively small number of patients since the main assay may have been costly.
Studies like this often form the foundation for grant proposals for larger much more expensive and informative subsequent studies that can afford controls, large numbers of patients, association with health co-morbidities, and potential therapeutic interventions.
Our family is also doing our best to limit the use of plastic products, starting from food storage in glass containers or ECI/stainless pans, using natural hair dish brushes, buying paper bags when forgetting our multi-use bags, using hardly any plastic foils, buying food and drinks in glass where possible etc. We are recycling the plastics we do use and can. But the plastics are everywhere, and seemingly in our food indeed as well.
Essentially all meats are packed in plastic at the meat sections in our stores. If we go to the “butcher” on the same supermarkets meat/fish counter, it will likely be packed in paper, but its lined with BPA perhaps a smaller footprint though like that. I guess we could go to a real butchery and buy all our meat there and ask them to put it in the Pyrex with us, but we don’t have a butchery close enough that I would do so. I’m not ready to do such thing in the local supermarkets to be honest right now and I’m not sure if things will ever evolve towards solutions like that in order to reduce plastic usage, but it could be doable I guess if enforced by governments.
We do what we “can”, but everyone probably can do a bit more. I for one will now stop buying chewing gum
Amen, Brother. I saw no agenda and no correlations drawn or even hypothesized. It’s a shame of our times that even the first exploratory studies are routinely met with criticism and suspicion that strongly imply bad science. As if these first steps must be born lavishly funded, hugely populated, double-blind and already peer reviewed!
The takehome here is that 80% of the subjects had microplastics in their blood. If someone wants to challenge/question/disagree with that finding, fine, but bring facts.
Which study are you referring to? I think @honkman is referring to the one about plastics reducing flexibility as we age. Actually that’s what I wanted to see. Honkman asked about “the original paper that shows a connection between joint pain and what we drink.”