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Amazing, innit?

Microwave meals and bottled water should be avoided, scientists believe, as a study found microplastic particles may be able to get into the brain, lungs and heart of unborn children.

Scientists believe we need to “rethink” our use of plastic and suggest we should revert back to the 1950s preference for Pyrex when heating up meals and ditch the plastic container-first approach.

Studies are increasingly discovering that microplastics – microscopic beads of plastic created when plastic items are used and washed – are ubiquitous in nature.

How all this new science just happens to back up the Greenpeace mantra of all plastic is the very devil?

Dr Demokritou called for more investment in research to understand the impact of plastic particles on human health, and renewed efforts to recycle materials or switch to more biodegradable alternatives.

Recycling ain’t gonna change the amount of detritus in our diets now, is it?

“It’s probably less handy but we should not drink bottled water in plastic bottles.

“We don’t have to freak out if we sit on a plastic chair, but I think we should avoid whatever is disposable, whatever is in contact with food, such as using plastic containers in the microwave oven. We should go back to glass.”

Recycling the bottle or the container also ain’t gonna change the amount in our diet.

13 thoughts on “Amazing, innit?”

  1. The study in the paper quoted uses carboxylated polystyrene beads, i.e plastic specifically modified to interact with biological molecules.

    I’m sure someone could advise how this is representative of exposure to standard plastic particles in the environment but I’m buggered if I know.

  2. “Dr Demokritou called for more investment in research…”

    Let’s vote on it, Dr. Demokritou.

  3. Am I alone in this world in not carrying a plastic bottle of liquid everywhere I go, in order to stay constantly “rehydrated”? If I’m thirsty I go into a pub or cafe for a pint of beer or cup of tea served in a glass or crockery cup.

  4. No, KevinS, you’re not. If it’s really warm I’ll take a small bottle of water to work ‘just in case’ and there always one in the car, but that’s it.

  5. The Meissen Bison

    Not only do I not have a bottle of water wherever I go, I don’t have a rucksack in my hand in which to carry it or a blood donor card.

  6. ‘If I’m thirsty, I just drink the blood of a passer by.’

    Thank you Michael. I’d never thought of trying that.

    If I feel really thirsty, I usually stop at a shop and buy a can of coke. Though after the dentist had a go at my teeth last week, I decided a cask of wine was called for.

  7. I carry a metal (refillable, obvs) water bottle around with me, I like its indestructibility. But I’m often in the back of beyond where popping into a cafe isn’t an option.

  8. ‘… scientists believe, as a study found microplastic particles may be able to get into the brain, lungs and heart of unborn children.‘

    Belief = religion not science. And of course our favourite weasel word ‘may’.

    But anyway… in order to get into the brain, lungs, heart of unborn, the alleged micro plastic particles would have to be small enough to transit the bowel mucosa and blood capillaries therein in order to enter the bloodstream, then cross the blood/brain barrier, cross the lung lining into the alveoli and cross the placental barrier.

    They would have to be smaller than many bacteria and virus and smaller than blood cells – we are really talking molecules.

    In any case since plastic is inert – non-biodegradable as we are constantly reminded – it presents no toxic or corrosive or interactive dangers.

    More junk science.

  9. JohnB… Not quite. The stuff does get into our body, at indeed molecular size and slightly above. Nor is the stuff “inert” at that level. Cells are like chemical factories at molecular level and contain some pretty agressive stuff that can interact with plastics, just like any strong oxydiser/reductor. Or acid/base if you prefer protons.

    Thing is…. So does a lot of other stuff.
    You’re talking about the levels of natural asbestos in the air, or glass, or uranium, or the host of other quite natural “foreign substances” that tend to get into our body by simply living and doing stuff.
    It’s Utterly Amazing™ that our bodies have a way to deal with that after all that evolution stuff we went through…
    As is, this “pollution”, due to its very size/nature, could at best inconvenience a single cell, or in extreme and unlikely cases a cluster of cells, which then would have to be in some critical places to actually have a potentially noticeable effect. You literally start out with odds into the billions range..

    And as NoelC remarked, for the study they used a special plastic that is easily detected, because you’ll have a hard time to find, say, PET (vast majority of all plastic bottles nowadays), or PVC, or nylon/perlon/elasthan ( all those fibers in our modern clothes rubbing and shedding bits…) to try and prove anything.

    In the end you’re running into that conundrum our Host has been pointing at regularly lately: our detection capacity for this kind of thing has become so sensitive and accurate that we’re hitting Background Noise territory.
    Which should be treated as Background Noise, and not as the Next Threat From Outer Space.
    With the “old” detection methods, anything you could find meant there already was an amount that could potentially cause problems. Nowadays you have to get back to the question “is the amount we found actually an amount above natural background noise?”
    But grant chasers hate that question, because there’s a high likelyhood their Precioussss findings are actually irrelevant. With all the implications for getting the next grant…

    But Plastic is Evil, so it’s nice headlines and more grants from the Usual Suspects. If you gloss over/downplay certain Inconvenient Questions.

  10. I eat salads, not a large amount because they’re not very masculine, but you have to get your vitamins somehow. As a result I probably consume up to a kilogram of sand and chitin insect shells a year. Please wait until I’m dead before taking tissue samples but I’m fairly sure that a) inert sand and inert chitin is present in my body to at least the same extent as inert microplastics and b) none of them will be the cause of my death.

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