to fall from the sky. And they have also reached our tissues and organs, according to a study that has been presented recently.“data-reactid =” 23 “> Microplastics are everywhere. We can find them in the meat we eat, in water sources, sometimes they can even fall from the sky. And they have also reached our tissues and organs, according to a study that has been presented recently.
And this is novel? Yes, since it is the first study that shows the presence of plastics in our tissues, and how they accumulate in them. It is not the only thing that is interesting, but only this is important.
Let’s start with the tool part. Because this is what the researchers have done: create a tool to detect plastics in human tissues, which at the same time allows calculating areas and volumes so that data from different researchers can be compared.
flow cytometry to account for the plastic in or around cells. In flow cytometry a laser is used that is focused on a fluid where the cells are, and depending on the behavior of the light – how much it is deflected and in what way, how much is absorbed, etc. – substances within the cells can be detected. cells. For example, the presence of microplastics or nanoplastics. “Data-reactid =” 27 “> This technique uses flow cytometry to account for the plastic in or around cells. Flow cytometry uses a laser that is focuses on a fluid where the cells are, and depending on the behavior of the light – how much it is deflected and in what way, how much is absorbed, etc. – substances can be detected inside the cells. For example, the presence of microplastics or nanoplastics .
To demonstrate that this technique can be used, the researchers introduced microplastics into cultured cells, and then cytometered them. Since he knew how big the particles were, they have even been able to create a tool to measure the area of plastics.
But of course, they have not detected the presence of plastics here. That they were, because they had put them themselves. The most striking part is the second, where they have shown that plastics reach our organs and tissues.
mass spectrometry.“data-reactid =” 30 “> Here the technique they have used is different: They have analyzed different tissues – liver, lungs, spleen, kidneys and adipose tissue – of 47 patients who donated their bodies to science using mass spectrometry.
The difference is that with spectrometry you cannot detect microplastics or nanoplastics, if not monomers, which are the molecules that make up plastics. Something like the “bricks” – or blocks or pieces – with which plastics are built.
But if monomers are detected, the deduction is that plastics have been. What happens is that, because of how the technique works, you cannot find such large pieces.
Okay, and with this we come to the two important questions. The first is more of a curiosity: what made us suspect that plastics could reach our tissues? Because if you don’t suspect that something like this may happen, you don’t spend time and effort on such a study.
And it is that this has been talking for a while. These microplastics are known to reach animal tissues, and it was suspected that they could enter from the intestine and travel through the blood of a human being. What has been surprising has been to find them in all tissues, and not just in the liver – which is like the purifier of our body – or adipose tissue, where many substances bioaccumulate.
And the second question is whether it should alarm us. Which, unfortunately, does not have a simple answer. Perhaps not alarmed, or at least not yet. But worrying, yes. And it should be something that is studied in more detail, both the presence of microplastics inside our body and the effects they can have on health. At least we have tools to do these studies.
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