Scientists have found that mothers are passing on microplastic particles to their children
In a study among pregnant women, scientists from the University of California, San Francisco, USA, found 109 chemicals, including 55 that had not been previously reported in humans, according to a publication in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. 42 “mystery chemicals” whose sources and functions are unknown were also identified. They most likely originate from consumer goods or other industrial sources, and scientists suggest they may cross the placenta, as they have been found in both pregnant women and newborns.
“These chemicals have probably been present in humans for a long time, but now our technology is helping to better identify them,” says Dr. Tracy J. Woodruff, professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the university.
Microplastics cross the placenta
Another worrying fact: mothers can pass microplastic particles to children. Plastic nanoparticles, such as those found in mineral water bottles around the planet, can enter the body of the expectant mother into the baby’s heart, brain and lungs, The Daily Mail reports, citing a study on laboratory rats.
Thus, for the first time in the history of science, it has been proven that microplastic is able to cross the placental barrier in living mammals. When mothers inhale the tiny particles, they travel through the bloodstream and enter the still-developing organs of the unborn child.
Plastic consists of long-chain polymers that break down over time into microplastic particles – fibers smaller than 5mm in size. They pose a danger, and what exactly the consequences might be is still unclear. Such microplastic particles have been found all over the Earth from the Equator to Antarctica, including on Mount Everest, the publication writes.