The research team from China and Hong subjected human liver and lung cells to these nano plastics in the lab and found that the particles entered the cells within two days. Although the microplastics did not kill the cells, they found that the cells were changing. The more cells that were subjected to the nano plastics, the more they released reactive oxygen species, amino acids, peptides, and other compounds. This means that numerous metabolic processes within the cell were disrupted and altered.
The size of microplastics makes them extremely dangerous and difficult to control. Cleaning up microplastics is almost impossible. Microplastics are found in waterways and even inside human and animal tissue. The issue is getting worse, and it’s reported that 11 million metric tons of plastic enter the planet’s oceans every year, and the number is predicted to triple by 2040.
Microplastics have been found everywhere, from Mount Everest to the depths of the oceans, and it’s even been found in the placentas of pregnant women. It’s more important now than ever to move away from single-use plastic. Not only is it horrible for the environment, but now studies like this are revealing how devastating they can be for human cells. Through food, the air, and other ways, we are constantly consuming tiny plastic particles.