For the First Time Ever, Microplastic Found in Human Waste


Plastics in various forms has highly degrading effects on the surrounding environment as well as living beings. Until now plastic has been found existing inside animals and also in their stool samples. However, a study conducted by researchers at the Medical University of Vienna and the Environment Agency Austria found out that microplastic in small quantities is now found in human stool samples too.

More Insights into the Human Stool Study

An analysis of human stool samples from participants across eight countries was taken. And up to nine different varieties of microplastic were found in every single sample that were subjected to various tests. The eight participants monitored by the researchers belonged to the following countries: Finland, the Netherlands, Russia, Austria, Poland, Japan, Italy, and the UK.

Microplastics are tiny particles that are used in certain products, but also might be created unintentionally through degradation, weathering, and tearing of larger pieces of plastic. It was theorized earlier that these particles could dramatically impact human health by affecting the gut’s intolerance and immune response through bioaccumulation. Microplastics could also facilitate transmission of pathogens and other toxic chemicals, thus endangering the individual’s health.

Every participant maintained a records in the form of food diaries for a week before their excreta samples were collected. The diaries show that the participants were all exposed to plastic through foods that had been wrapped in plastic, or also by drinking from plastic bottles. The tests identified most common plastics as polypropylene and polyethylene terephthalate. By considering an average measurement, about 20 microplastic particles were present in every 10 gram of the samples.

As per chief researcher Philipp Schwabi, this study is the first of its kind which confirms that plastic indeed reaches the human gut. Scientific estimates show that about 2-5 % of different plastics produced consequently become a part of the food chain.

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