Study Reveals Concerning Microplastic Inhalation by Humans

A recent study published in the journal Physics of Fluids has shed light on the alarming issue of microplastic inhalation by humans. The study utilized a computer model to analyze the transport and deposition of microplastics in the upper airway. It estimated that individuals may be inhaling as much as 16.2 bits of microplastics every hour, which is equivalent to a credit card’s worth. This study raises concerns about the potential health impacts of microplastic exposure, considering their detection in human blood, breast milk, drinking water, and food. 

Analyzing Microplastic Deposition 

Using a computer model, scientists focused on understanding the transport and deposition of microplastics in the upper airway. They discovered that microplastics with a size of 5.56 microns tended to get stuck in the upper airways, nasal cavity, or the back of the throat. However, the deposition of microplastics was not solely influenced by size. The shape of the particles also played a significant role in their deposition. 

Factors Influencing Deposition 

The study revealed that various factors influenced the overall deposition of microplastics. Breathing conditions, particle size, flow speed, particle inertia, and the asymmetric anatomy of the airway all played a role in determining where microplastics were deposited. Increased airflow rate resulted in less deposition, while larger microplastics tended to be deposited in the airways more frequently than smaller counterparts (1.6 and 2.56 microns). 

Addressing Health Hazards 

The study was conducted to address the growing concern regarding serious respiratory health hazards associated with microplastic presence in human airways. Scientists have become increasingly alarmed by the detection of microplastics in diverse biological samples. The density of microplastics in the air is also increasing significantly due to global microplastic production. 

Importance of Awareness and Risk Assessment 

The study emphasizes the need for greater awareness regarding the presence of microplastics, their potential health impacts, and the importance of health risk assessment. The findings serve as a wake-up call to take proactive measures in understanding and mitigating the risks associated with microplastic inhalation. 



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