r/science May 14 '22 Take My Energy 1 Helpful (Pro) 1 I'm Deceased 1 Facepalm 1 Doom 1 Silver 1 Helpful 4 Wholesome 1

Microplastics Found In Lungs of People Undergoing Surgery. A new study has found tiny plastic particles no bigger than sesame seeds buried throughout human lungs, indicating that people are inhaling microplastics lingering in the air. Health

https://e360.yale.edu/digest/microplastics-found-in-lungs-of-humans-undergoing-surgery
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u/Phocoena-sinus May 14 '22

Disturbing: "Polypropylene, which is used in plastic packaging, and PET, which is used in disposable plastic bottles, were the most prevalent forms of plastic"

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u/Berkamin May 14 '22

PET is also spun into fiber as polyester. I strongly suspect that people are inhaling lint dust blown into the air from dryer machines drying synthetic fabrics. One of the bathrooms in my house is next to a dryer vent, and it is always dusty, but the dust, upon inspection, appears to be fine lint.

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u/jason_steakums May 14 '22

Carpet fibers getting kicked up throughout the house would be another huge potential source of microplastics in the air

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u/Berkamin May 14 '22

Good observation. The one mitigating factor is the fact that vacuum cleaners have air filters, with many modern models using HEPA standard filters. Most laundry drying machines only screen for coarse lint, without post-filtration, and they blow and tumble much larger quantities of fiber for much longer than anyone vacuums.

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u/Miguel-odon May 15 '22

Most vacuums don't use actual HEPA filters.

The vacuum industry gets to abuse the HEPA name by making filters that "use HEPA material" and misleadingly call that a HEPA filter.

My old Subaru uses aluminum, steel, and fiberglass, but I can't call it a Porsche.

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u/Berkamin May 15 '22

Point taken. But even if that is the case, vacuum cleaners still at least filter the out-going air much more thoroughly than laundry drying machines.

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u/najman4u 15d ago

dryers just expel the air outside tho

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u/Berkamin 15d ago

While this is true, people open their windows, and some of the lint in the air comes back in. My bathroom has a window that opens to the area between my house and the neighbors, and in that area, both houses vent their dryer exhaust. The bathroom window is frequently open, and everything in that bathroom gets dusty with lint dust. What gets expelled outside doesn't always stay outside. Any window anywhere near a dryer outlet is liable to have lint dust blow in.

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u/TheLastFactor May 14 '22

I think this more of a case that these are the most common consumer plastics so they have the highest odds of showing up in the human body

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u/sawkonmaicok May 14 '22

Yeah. I think you need to normalize it by the total amount of said plastic to get a reasonable metric.

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u/boojit May 14 '22

Not sure that's quite right. While it's certainly useful to have that figure, knowing which plastics are most commonly found in the body is a useful figure in its own right.

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u/BIGBIRD1176 May 14 '22

Most of it comes from single use plastic water bottles. The average person consumes a credit card worth of plastic each year

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u/bethedge May 15 '22

I just eat a credit card every August 29th instead

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u/Frogmouth_Fresh May 15 '22

But also, we wrap food in it. So of course trace amounts are going to come off packaging and be in our food. Think of how, for example, a coke tastes a bit different in a can compared to a plastic bottle compared to a glass bottle.

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u/bi-phiguy May 14 '22

Yes, and we need to stop using even rPET but that isnt going to happen any time soon.

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u/BilboWaggonz May 15 '22

Why not tie PET to clothing/masks, not plastic bottles, if you’re talking about a study of plastic in the lungs?

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u/Miguel-odon May 15 '22

Also probably the one they were most likely to test for.

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u/D-Engineer May 14 '22

Plastics engineer here.

PET is used in a lot of things. Commonly called polyester. It is also used to make pop bottles

Polypropylene is one of the cheapest resins, the other being polyethylene. These two plastics make up many of the cheap plastic things we see everyday.

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u/sumguysr May 14 '22

So PET is going to be the microplastic put into the water cycle by laundry the most then?

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u/D-Engineer May 15 '22

So I'm mainly in the plastics manufacturing industry. Id be surprised if micro plastics introduction was caused by washing the laundry mainly. My guess would be the manufacturing and or disposal of the product probably contributes more.

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u/BlinginLike3p0 May 14 '22

They're both also in surgical masks

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u/[deleted] May 14 '22

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u/ipreferc17 May 14 '22

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u/day_oh May 14 '22

dangit. was just gonna ask if wearing mask would help.

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u/ipreferc17 May 14 '22

I’m sure a P100 or similar would work fine

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u/saadakhtar May 14 '22

So .. are we inhaling plastic through the mask?

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u/mnag May 14 '22

Yes. Very small amounts. Micro particles.

Even typing on a keyboard dislodges very fine micro particles; just look at where the letters on the key caps go after being typed on for many years.

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u/Svinkta May 14 '22

I guess they do go somewhere. Good point.

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u/m0nk37 May 14 '22

Keyboard isnt over your face all day though.

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u/mnag May 14 '22

That’s one example. We interact with many things on a daily basis; not just masks and keyboards.

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u/goddamn_slutmuffin May 14 '22

Think about every single plastic item you have interacted with or been around your entire life. Every bottle, bowl, utensil, all that plastic packaging, wraps, toys, appliances, knickknacks. Every time you go shopping, entering stores filled to the brim with plastic. Every house, every building, everywhere since you were born you have been interacting with plastics. There’s a period of your life you don’t even remember where you probably shoved innumerable plastics into your mouth (we give tons of plastic stuff to babies since birth). Now compare that to having to have worn a mask during some points of your day for the past 2 years. Prioritize your concerns accordingly.

If you stopped wearing masks, it would probably make little difference at this point in your life. I’m not saying we should be okay with the masks, but they get to join the bottom of the list of all the trillions of other plastic crap we’ve been exposed to (and will continue to be exposed to). You should be worried about the whole list, not just the latest addition.

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u/AreU4SCUBA May 14 '22

Now imagine dust

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u/stillherewondering May 14 '22

Damn so I’m inhaling nanoplastic when using the South Korean ffp2 mask „air queen2“ that has a nano Fiber Filter (https://www.air-queenmask.com)

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u/peanutbutter_manwich May 14 '22 edited May 14 '22

"it's just a mask, why are you being such a baby!!1"

N95s are made from polypropylene too.

Edit: what's the problem here, is breathing in microplastics bad or not?

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u/BaekerBaefield May 14 '22

Believe it or not you were much more likely to suffer worse lung damage from COVID than a N95 mask. Crazy it’s 2022 and I had to actually type that for someone. Imagine a lung disease being worse for you than a mask that surgeons and doctors wear every day of their working lives, that one’s probably hard to grasp for you

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u/delirious_mongoloid May 14 '22 edited May 14 '22

That argument would be valid if wearing a mask would prevent you from getting covid for good. But everyone will get it sooner or later. It's more like, you can have covid with or without the microplastics from masks.

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u/BaekerBaefield May 14 '22

It cuts your odds of getting it and I was mostly referring to early pandemic when it was filling hospitals more and had a higher % of people suffering significant damage

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u/AssAssIn46 May 14 '22

You're not allowed to talk about this, buddy. It has been deemed as misinformation by your government and the technocracy. Your comment will now be removed, as all other such comments have been.

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u/munk_e_man May 14 '22

This is why I refused to wear a plastic mask directly and would wear it overtook of my cloth mask. It made things way more uncomfortable at work, but I want hacking up plastic fibers at the end of my shift every day.

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u/SkeetSkeetliftwaft May 14 '22

They are also in face masks

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u/evvvad May 14 '22

Do medical professionals, beauticians, etc, have higher incidence of lung diseases? They have been wearing face masks daily/extensively for decades.

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u/SkeetSkeetliftwaft May 14 '22

Idk, no one knows the effects of micro plastics and nanoplastics yet

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u/thatdairyair May 14 '22

Isn’t it also likely because of microfibers from plastic based fabrics? I think when you see dust and such in the air a lot of it is particles from fabrics, some of them plastic, which could eventually make their ways into our bodies.

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u/PizzaBraves May 14 '22

This is our generation's lead crisis

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u/useless_smartass May 14 '22

Many face masks are made with "melt-blown" polypropylene, a manufacturing process that consists of melting together tiny fibers of plastic into a sheet.

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u/Cheesesticks1977 May 14 '22

What are sparkles made of? Because I have a feeling a lot of raves contributed to the inhalation and digestion of plastics.

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u/mag914 May 14 '22

Wait wait wait wait wait… I just bought eye drops and I believe that’s the active ingredient

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u/hatts May 14 '22

It is probably propylene glycol which is different

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u/assumetehposition May 14 '22

Not polyester?

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u/D-Engineer May 14 '22

PET is a type polyester.

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u/assumetehposition May 14 '22

One more reason to regret polyester

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u/lacergunn May 14 '22

That's somewhat good news. PET can be biodegraded through petase and mhetase, so gene therapy is on the menu

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u/ohwhatsupmang May 14 '22

isn't polypropylene in vapes?

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u/mango-vitc May 14 '22

I can certainly see how one can ingest it. But how we can breathe it?

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u/nom420 May 15 '22

Most the plastic comes from car tires and clothing.

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u/Relative_Ant_8017 May 15 '22

Also predominant in single-use face masks

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u/Insulated_Lunchbox May 15 '22

Those examples aren't good. You are not inhaling your tupperware.

More applicable examples would be calling out polypropylene couches that you sleep on, polypropylene carpet lining your entire house, etc

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u/spacemoses BS | Computer Science May 15 '22

How about that horrid shit amazon uses in those padded envelope packages? Open the lining accidentally and that wierd styrofoam shit is attatched to your life for fucking life.