Mar. 24, 2022 -- Microplastics from beverage bottles, packaged food, and plastic bags were detected for the first time in human blood, according to a new study.

Researchers outlined the findings, first reported by The Guardian, in the journal Environment International. Blood samples from 22 participants were analyzed, and 80 percent of them contained plastic particles.

PET plastic, used primarily for soft drinks, juices and water, was found in 50 percent of the samples. Polystyrene, commonly used in the food-service industry as disposable utensils, cups and containers, was found in 36 percent of the samples. Polyethylene, used for grocery and garbage bags, was discovered in 23 percent of samples.

“Our study is the first indication that we have polymer particles in our blood — ​it’s a breakthrough result,” Dick Vethaak, an ecotoxicologist at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands, told The Guardian.

He added that, “it is certainly reasonable to be concerned.”

Though this is the first time microplastics have been detected in blood, they have been previously found in human feces.

A study from Dec. 2021 determined that people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) had more microplastics in their stool than those without the disease.

Researchers noted in the paper that these recent findings spur additional questions about how dangerous microplastic exposure may be.

They wrote, “If plastic particles present in the bloodstream are indeed being carried by immune cells, the question also arises, can such exposures potentially affect immune regulation or the predisposition to diseases with an immunological base?”

Show Sources

The Guardian: “Microplastics found in human blood for first time”

Environmental Sciences: “Discovery and quantification of plastic particle pollution in human blood”

Science Daily: “People with IBD have more microplastics in their feces”

© 2022 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved. View privacy policy and trust info