According to an article by Damian Carrington, published in The Guardian, Italian researchers in Rome conducted a study with 34 healthy mothers, a week after giving birth. Shockingly, 75% of the mothers in the study were found to have traces of microplastics in their breast milk. Furthermore, they recorded the mothers’ consumption of seafood, food and drink in plastic packaging, as well as, the use of personal hygiene products containing plastic. No correlation whatsoever could be found – meaning that human exposure to these microplastics are inevitable.
In 2020, this same research team also found microplastics in human placentas. It is estimated that bottle fed babies are likely to be swallowing millions of microplastics a day; not only from the plastic bottles themselves, but also due to the fact that cow’s milk contains microplastics. Microplastics have been routinely found in the feces of adults and babies alike. These findings are even more frightening when you consider that these particles can’t be analyzed if they are smaller than 2 microns, meaning that there are a lot more microplastics that aren’t even being detected. There is no current data on the implications of these particles to the health and development of infants, or humans, in general.
Unfortunately, as previously stated in this article, exposure to these particles seem to be inevitable. Microplastics are introduced to the human body through consumption of food, water, and the air we breathe. Plastic waste can be found from the top of Mt. Everest, to the bottom of every one of our oceans. 300 million tons of plastic waste is produced every year. This number is actually growing at an annual rate of 9%, in spite of the detrimental effects on our environment and health. Not surprisingly, the United States is the leading producer of plastic waste in the world. It is estimated that the average person consumes 70,000 microplastics daily.
The simple solution would be to begin the reduction of plastic manufacturing, and to replace it with an alternative source. Yet even if such a policy were implemented tomorrow, the positive effects would not be seen for generations to come, due to the greedy and reckless policies that have allowed this contamination in the first place. Plastic is extremely cheap and inexpensive to manufacture; and profit will always win out over anything. This didn’t happen overnight, nor will it be remedied anytime soon; especially considering that the people making the decisions about these regulations have unwaveringly chose to ignore the wellbeing of its citizens, and the planet that we all share, in favor of lining their pockets with money provided by special interest groups whose only purpose is to squeeze every cent out of every resource, regardless of the impact of the environment, or the people inhabiting it.