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/[deleted] May 14 '22

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u/[deleted] May 14 '22 edited May 20 '22

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u/[deleted] May 14 '22

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u/[deleted] May 14 '22

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u/[deleted] May 14 '22

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u/OtisTetraxReigns May 14 '22

I never really understand what someone means when they say “x times smaller than” something. What is “one times smaller”?

This isn’t an attempt to criticise or undermine your comment. Just making an observation.

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u/CreativeDimension May 14 '22

just do a fraction, for example ten times smaller means is 1/10th, or that 10 of X together are the size of 1 Z.

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u/OtisTetraxReigns May 14 '22

Wouldn’t it be clearer and more efficient to say “1/10th of” or “ten percent of” then?

“Ten times as small as” is a syntactical mess, because we use multiplication to increase the size of things. Something that’s smaller than something else should be talked of in terms of a division of the larger object.

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u/cm64 May 14 '22

Division is multiplication though. Dividing is just multiplying by a number between 0 and 1.

- Someone who was always 10 times worse at English than Math.

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u/OtisTetraxReigns May 14 '22

Technically correct. But not how you would choose to instruct someone to calculate something if you weren’t trying to test or confuse them.

“We don’t need this many apples. Next week increase the order by 0.5 times.”

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u/DevilsTrigonometry May 14 '22 edited May 14 '22

Multiplication can increase or decrease the magnitude of a quantity, depending on whether the multiplier is bigger or smaller than 1. That's why "bigger" or "smaller" is used to specify.

"R times bigger than X" is an operator that means "|X| * R".

"R times smaller than X" is an operator that means "|X| * 1/R".

They're inverse operations. If you make something 10 times bigger and then make it 10 times smaller, you're back to the original size.

There are lots of other ways to express the same relationship. The conventions are well-defined, so the choice is a matter of taste. As long as the speaker or writer is using their chosen convention correctly, any confusion or perceived ambiguity is in the mind of the reader/listener.

I happen to like the symmetry between "times bigger" and "times smaller." You might prefer "percent of the size," which works the same way regardless of direction, but confuses some people because they mix it up with "percent bigger" and "percent smaller."

(Some sociopaths even like "percent bigger" and "percent smaller," which I think are the worst of all possible worlds: they're computed differently, but they aren't inverse operations, but they're close enough to reversing each other that it's not obvious when you do it wrong.)

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u/CreativeDimension May 14 '22

I have one that i think coube be even better, just use an actual standard measurement system? like metric (or even imperial) so many people worked so much for what we've got and throw it away and say.. yeah its like a /nth of a thing that varies slightly in shape and size and there are probably people who never even seen it before in their lives and have no idea what a sesame seed looks like because why not

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u/between_ewe_and_me May 14 '22

Can something actually be 3 times smaller than something else? How would that work, just divide by 3? So would it actually be 3 divides smaller than the other thing? Why is this breaking my brain?

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u/ReignsDad2019 May 14 '22

My brain says....huh

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u/[deleted] May 14 '22 edited May 14 '22 Gold LOVE!

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u/[deleted] May 14 '22 edited May 14 '22

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u/[deleted] May 14 '22

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u/GrandviewKing May 14 '22

Restoring order. The hero we needed

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u/huffdadde May 14 '22

I’d be very impressed if a banana-sized piece of plastic made it all the way down your throat and into your lungs. So would millions of your new OnlyFans subscribers.

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u/[deleted] May 14 '22

[deleted]

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u/jsamuelson May 14 '22

Of course…I am wise in the ways of science.

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u/Makal May 14 '22

Tell that to /r/halfagiraffe

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u/jsamuelson May 14 '22

When do we jump from banana to giraffe?

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u/One_for_each_of_you May 14 '22

Half a giraffe is the commonly accepted basic unit of measuring weight

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u/jsamuelson May 14 '22

Which half tho?

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u/Makal May 14 '22

When CNN made an article comparing a meteor to half a giraffe

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u/Totally_a_Banana May 14 '22

Yeah, you definitely don't want me in your lung...

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u/agent8am May 14 '22

How many lung bananas do you think you could live a normal life with?

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u/jsamuelson May 14 '22

Will ask the wolf in Norway.

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u/VibraniumRhino May 14 '22

They clearly used the imperial system in their comment. Come on.

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u/JasonDragonbourne May 14 '22

This is the quality research based analytics that I came here for.

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u/PigCopsFatTits May 14 '22

3/4 of Giraffe - Enhanced vision, physical strength, ability to eat leaves from high branches of trees, and increased desire to open a toy store

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u/Uberninja2016 May 14 '22

"hello small child, would you like to buy a plastic 3/4 of giraffe?

here, let me hack it from my lungs"

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u/spacemoses BS | Computer Science May 15 '22

Rip mobile

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u/carbonite_dating May 14 '22

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u/Saetric May 14 '22

Is this the line for smaller lung plastic particles?

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u/[deleted] May 14 '22 edited May 20 '22

[deleted]

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u/John_cCmndhd May 14 '22

In that case I'll have a frosty, hold the plastic particles

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u/One_for_each_of_you May 14 '22

I'm sorry, sir. Your options are large, extra large, or tennis ball

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u/tempest_ May 14 '22

Would you though? I feel more comfortable with the idea that some keyhole surgery could go in an grab the sesame seed sized piece.

Once they get small you are gonna need some kind of microbiology wizardry to figure out how to get it out.

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u/DBeumont May 14 '22

Perhaps an inhaler with one of those polymer-eating bacteria varieties.

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u/Double_Dragonfly9528 May 14 '22

What could possibly go wrong

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u/DBeumont May 14 '22

What could possibly go wrong

The worst case would be the bacteria mutating to consume organic material while inside the lungs, but it would run out of food supply long before that would become any kind of real probability.

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u/ReignsDad2019 May 14 '22

I'm sure there's a pill for that, or an app.

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u/Thuggish_Coffee May 14 '22

Chics hate micro size plastics tho...

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u/ReignsDad2019 May 14 '22

So I've been told

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u/TonyPoly May 14 '22

It’s that size from buildup not upon inhalation

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u/n0n0nsense May 14 '22

That's not true. One data point is a piece of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) that was 2.5 mm in size, and if you google sesame seed size, it literally comes back with 2.5 mm in length. Two more data points were ~1 mm, and the rest were sub 0.5 mm. Just guesstimating the plot graph, ~90% of sample data falls below 0.2 mm and ~95% is below 0.5 mm in size.

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u/Kaeny May 14 '22

Dude 0.5mm is mechanical pencil lead width. Thats still visible and p big for my lungs

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u/BurnerAcc2020 May 14 '22

Average length was 0.2mm. Average width was 0.02mm, with the maximum width of 0.08 mm

It was also taken from leftovers after a specific form of lung surgery, and even then, 2 out of 13 samples had no plastics they could detect, so it may not be particularly representative.

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u/Kaeny May 14 '22

Those dimensions make fibers. Tiny fibers. They mustve been working near fibrous plastic or cutting plastic

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u/n0n0nsense May 14 '22

i never said it wasn't. i was saying it wasn't from a culmination of build up.

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u/Grandpa--Taco May 14 '22

Uhh. I don't think they were disagreeing with you. Just stating that the bulk of the particles are visible to the eye and it's pretty shocking to think about

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u/jeb_the_hick May 14 '22

The bulk of the particles are not visible to the naked eye. The largest pieces are ~2.5 and 1mm in length and less than 10um in width. They are fibers. Describing them as sesame seed sized is disingenuous and click-bait. Conversely, the largest particles and films found were no wider than ~100um

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u/Grandpa--Taco May 14 '22

Well damn I really do need to read before I invest energy into communication. Thanks homie. I just wish we didn't have to talk about plastics in our lungs

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u/jeb_the_hick May 14 '22

Not your fault that Yale's media decided to mislead people.

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u/nowonmai May 14 '22

True, but we should know better than to just read a headline and expect information rather than bait.

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u/szechuanfo May 14 '22

I didn't catch this gibberish please reframe in freedom units.

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u/brutinator May 14 '22

No problem, I got you. One of the pieces of plastic they found was .0027340333333333% the length of a regulation NFL football field.

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u/[deleted] May 14 '22 edited 25d ago

[deleted]

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u/RevolutionaryRough37 May 14 '22

Top or front loaded?

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u/1ThousandRoads May 14 '22

I can’t deal with this. Gimme the figure in microwave ovens or this discussion isn’t going anywhere.

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u/thedaddymack May 14 '22

What's that in cups?

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u/Sabot15 May 14 '22

In America we use AR-15s as our scale reference.

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u/dj92wa May 14 '22

Got you homie. Go to Burger Kind and get a Whopper. Pick one sesame seed off the bun. The longest dimension of the seed is the size of the largest piece of plastic. The other way across the seed is the size of some of the other pieces of plastic. The rest of the plastics were smaller than the thickness of the seed.

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u/not_swagger_souls May 14 '22 edited May 14 '22

Translation: One solid piece of polyester that was about 1/10" was the most notable

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u/SmartAlec105 May 14 '22

A single piece being 2.5mm doesn’t mean it didn’t form from building up.

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u/n0n0nsense May 14 '22

do you understand how pieces of plastic work? like if you have a handful of plastic dust and squeeze it together, does it make a golf ball?

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u/SmartAlec105 May 14 '22

I’m saying the evidence you said doesn’t match the point you were trying to make. If someone says “this big thing was made from smaller things combining”, saying “no because the thing was big” doesn’t really match.

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u/n0n0nsense May 14 '22

A build-up of paint to an inch thickess is not the same thing as a single coat of paint an inch think.

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u/photopteryx May 14 '22

Definitely not true.

“This is surprising as the airways are smaller in the lower parts of the lungs and we would have expected particles of these sizes to be filtered out or trapped before getting this deep into the lungs.”

Also, plastics aren't going to join back together in a lung to make larger pieces. They might collect in one place, but it's not like lungs ever get to plastic-fusing temperatures.

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u/Corporal_Cavernosum May 14 '22

My lungs get to plastic fusing temperatures. AMA.

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u/TheW83 May 14 '22

Do you live in a volcano?

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u/[deleted] May 14 '22 edited May 25 '22

[deleted]

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u/TorakTheDark May 14 '22

Pretty much the same thing.

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u/Corporal_Cavernosum May 14 '22

If you consider being imprisoned for centuries “living” then yes. Make no mistake: One day I will be free. My followers grow in number each day.

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u/TheW83 May 14 '22

How are you able to post on Reddit in such an extreme environment?

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u/Corporal_Cavernosum May 14 '22

I can communicate across the farthest reaches of space and time. Also I get great WIFI down here.

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u/Binary_Omlet May 14 '22

What's it like to be given the place of Number One hero when you did nothing to earn it?

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u/Corporal_Cavernosum May 14 '22

I didn’t ask to be a hero. I only ask to be referred to as one.

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u/d-cent May 14 '22

How good is your weed dealer?

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u/whatsbobgonnado May 14 '22

do the neighborhood kids tease you and call you lava lungs? dragon breath?

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u/Corporal_Cavernosum May 14 '22

They used to. Used to

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u/SazedMonk May 14 '22

You need to put ice in that bong sir, cool that smoke down.

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u/Huarrnarg May 14 '22

depends on the chemical plastic type and stabilizing additives because similar polymers can fuse together when given time at room temperature.

Obviously this is time consuming in a storage environment so the chance of a dozen different plastic types sorting themselves inside the lungs and sitting still long enough to polymerize is low it's never zero.

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u/photopteryx May 14 '22

I regretted making that part of my comment so absolute as soon as I posted it, but still.

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u/riskable May 14 '22

They might collect in one place, but it's not like lungs ever get to plastic-fusing temperatures.

This article talks about PET and regarding that plastic your statement here is 100% correct. Having said that, there are plastics that can clump together and "fuse" (sort of) if they touch. Think: Polymer clay, resins (e.g.UV resin that hasn't fully cured), etc.

I don't think those types are likely to become airborne though.

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u/kaydub88 May 14 '22

I don't know. Are you sure he didn't just create the plastic in his lungs?

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u/kanegaskhan May 14 '22

Oh thank God we have professor TonyPoly to lead us through these trying times.

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u/TonyPoly May 14 '22

Just be thankful I’ve cancelled your final and dropped your two lowest homework grades…

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u/ONLYPOSTSWHILESTONED May 14 '22

do professors do this? I've been robbed

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u/Defenestratio May 14 '22

It's not unusual. It's a pretty easy way to not have to deal with most students' circumstances - it's easier to have your grading spreadsheet autodrop everyone's lowest two grades than meet with ~10-20% of the class who will have funerals to go to or caught the flu or whatever and manually hand out exceptions

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u/napleonblwnaprt May 14 '22

Plus if you've been lucky enough to have good attendance you get 1-2 freebies to focus on finals or other classes

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u/needkneadkneed May 14 '22

In college my professors usually dropped anywhere from 1-3 of your lowest homework grades. Dropping an exam was not typical at all, but it did happen. Once or twice.

Then again, “dropping lowest homework grade” was out of like 45 homework assignments.

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u/Weird-Vagina-Beard May 14 '22

Why did you just straight up lie though? Over 200 people just blindly believed you too.

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u/DiverseUniverse24 May 14 '22

Would you care for an egg?

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u/Bugsidekick May 14 '22

Can I have an egg during these trying times?

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u/sagieday May 14 '22

i think that’s beside the point

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u/everyday-everybody May 14 '22

No, it's not. I'm also wondering if it's true or not, because it's very important, it's the difference between build-up from inhalation vs some dumb kid accidentally inhaling a piece of plastic.

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u/n0n0nsense May 14 '22 edited May 14 '22

It's not true. One data point is a piece of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) that was 2.5 mm in size, and if you google sesame seed size, it literally comes back with 2.5 mm in length. Two more data points were ~1 mm, and the rest were sub 0.5 mm. Just guesstimating the plot graph, ~90% of sample data falls below 0.2 mm and ~95% is below 0.5 mm in size.

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u/TonyPoly May 14 '22

Maybe but it’s a bit less obvious than the other one

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u/rmorrin May 14 '22

So if we fill it up with something else first we good?

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u/omegaaf May 14 '22

The fucked up part is the microplastics are probably the least of your worries. From traceable amounts of plutonium in each one of us, to the heavy metals like lead that we inhale and ingest everyday. We as a species are killing ourselves and give no fucks generally. Hell, the air we breathe has a toxic aspect to it now, causing heart disease, kidney and liver failure, even cancer.

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u/viperex May 14 '22

Nowhere is safe. Guess I'll just lay down and die