Microplastics in the placenta

A research by the Fatebenefratelli Hospital in Rome and by the Marche Polytechnic recently published in the scientific journal Environment International has found for the first time the presence of microplastics in the human placenta.
The study, approved by the Ethics Committee, analyzed the placentas of six healthy women, between 18 and 40, with normal pregnancies, who gave their consent to the research.


In total, twelve microplastics, particles between 5 and 10 microns, ie as large as a red blood cell or bacterium, were identified in four placentas of the six studied. Of the twelve fragments, three were clearly identified as polypropylene (material from which for example plastic bottles and caps are made) and nine of painted synthetic material. Fragments that can come from cosmetics, nail polish, toothpaste, plaster, face and body creams, adhesives. Five particles were found in the part of the placenta attached to the fetus and which is an integral part of the fetus, four in the part attached to the maternal uterus and three inside the membranes that surround the fetus.

The researchers explain that the main route of entry into our organism is not yet known, but it is assumed that the invisible plastic particles present in the environment enter the bloodstream through the respiratory system, or into the intestine with food. To give just one example, just think of the plastic trays in which food is packaged in supermarkets. With what consequence?



Researchers are keen to clarify that the risks to the health of children who already have microplastics within themselves at birth are not yet known, we must continue to do research. But international studies have already found that plastic, for example, alters fat metabolism. They also believe it probable that in the presence of microplastic fragments inside the organism the response of the body, of the immune system, may change, be different from the norm.

However, this research once again highlights the environmental emergency we are experiencing: plastic massively produced for sixty years is everywhere and we must do our part to reduce it.

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