No matter how hard we try to eliminate plastic from our daily lives, it will remain omnipresent for decades, in some form or the other. Now, before you dismiss us as pessimistic, allow us to elaborate.
Ocean waves or radiation from the Sun often break down larger plastic chunks into microplastics (less than 5 mm) or nanoplastics (1-1000 μm). These micro- and nanoplastics (MNPs) are capable of evading our sight and reaching almost every nook and corner of the world. In fact, previous studies have detected them in raindrops, food and even in our bloodstream, heart and veins.
Now, to make matters worse, a groundbreaking study has revealed that these minuscule particles could even penetrate the blood-brain barrier (BBB) — a biological barrier that shields the brain from potentially harmful substances like pathogens and toxins!
Researchers exposed mice to different levels of microplastics through drinking water and studied the impact of the plastics on organs and behaviour.
Microplastics are small plastic particles that are less than 5 mm long and come from larger plastic that has broken down, such as clothing, tyres and other items.
In the study published in the International Journal of Molecular Science, the authors found that the small plastic particles accumulated in every tissue they examined, including deep in the brain tissue.
Researchers at the University of Vienna said “Plastic particles could increase the risk of inflammation, neurological disorders or even neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s,” although more research is needed to determine the relationship between plastics and these brain disorders.
After three weeks, it was found that microplastics were present in every time of tissues of the mice that the team examined. The organs included liver, kidney, heart, spleen, lungs and most importantly, brain. The microplastics were even found in the excrements of mice.
ScienceAlert has reported that the current study supported similar findings that were obtained in studied carried out in past.