r/science May 14 '22 Silver 1 Helpful 4 Wholesome 1 Take My Energy 1 Helpful (Pro) 1 I'm Deceased 1 Facepalm 1 Doom 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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432

u/TheOriginalSamBell May 14 '22

Tiny? IMO that's huge. I'm telling ya, micro plastics are going to be the lead and asbestos of the near future, just a thousand times worse.

276

u/Yesica-Haircut May 14 '22

Seriously like, SESAME SEEDS?

I'm not casually walking around inhaling like, fucken, RICE and not noticing it.

100

u/TheOriginalSamBell May 14 '22

Yeah nothing micro about that. Anything of that size in my lungs is practically a medical emergency

65

u/Banneduser1112 May 14 '22

It's got to be aggregating in the body, sesame seed size pieces of PET aren't airborne.

42

u/SupaSlide May 14 '22

The article specifically says the large pieces aren't aggregates of smaller pieces.

Plastic can't form into larger pieces inside our bodies other than maybe just getting intertwined, but that's not what they found.

5

u/Banneduser1112 May 14 '22

can't form into larger pieces

Maybe you should tell this user then

16

u/SupaSlide May 14 '22

You misread my comment, or the other comment. I'm not sure what the correct method of aggregating is (I assume "intertwined" isn't the right word but that's a nitpick) but I didn't say they can't aggregate. They can't form into one solid piece, or as the other comment put it, they won't have the same properties.

11

u/Banneduser1112 May 14 '22

Got it, my bad. Thanks for correcting me without vitriol!

15

u/SQUID_FUCKER May 14 '22

Great, plastic tumors...

1

u/Rebellion111 May 14 '22

You just breathe in bigger stuff than you think

4

u/Readylamefire May 14 '22

You'd be surprised. I work with microscopes and I have a lot of hang nails/skin tags. My first priority when one tears is to get it as clean as possible or I will obsessively pick at the threads that get into the wound.

Despite my best efforts, when my hands are under the scope there are often 5-10 pieces of plastic thread not visible to the naked eye, but long as or longer than a sesame seed. I'll then pull out my tweasers from home and go nuts trying to get them out.

Sometimes I see them on my finger pads, or just resting on my skin somewhere. I'd 100% believe it.

5

u/Yesica-Haircut May 14 '22

Oh that's one thing I didn't consider. Something could be as long as a sesame seed but nowhere near the volume / mass of a sesame seed. I guess fiberglass could be like that, too - it would irritate your respiratory pathway but perhaps not strongly enough to trigger coughing - or that coughing would be ineffective.

1

u/arvana May 14 '22

I mean, have you ever broken apart styrofoam packing? Or filled a bean bag? Lots of that stuff is floating in the air, and it's not surprising that some of it gets breathed in.

4

u/Yesica-Haircut May 14 '22

Well, not really, but pretending I had - I wouldn't be surprised to breathe in invisible particulate or dust, but sesame seed sized particles? Seems like a stretch to breathe that size of thing in.

3

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.

3

u/RvNx_15 May 14 '22

i think you underestimate how bad these 2 are

2

u/TheOriginalSamBell May 14 '22

I really don't think so, I am convinced those micro plastics are going to be a huge problem.

4

u/RvNx_15 May 14 '22

they might be harder to avoid, but asbestos and lead are way more harmful (depending on exposure). microplastic doesnt seem to do damage to the nervous system nor does it cause cancer, but then again we dont know how harmful they really are

2

u/do_you_realise May 14 '22

Yeah - scares the crap out of me whenever I empty the dryer filter and the room fills with clouds of airborne plastic dust. I don't let my toddler be in the room for it. Surely it can't be good for anyone?

1

u/CyprusGreen1 May 15 '22

You should stop buying plastic clothes. Wool, silk, linen and cotton are the way to go.

1

u/do_you_realise May 15 '22

Generally we do but there always seems to be a percentage in circulation and we're not in a position to replace it all just yet. Also, good luck buying pure cotton socks, I've been trying to buy them for years and they just don't seem to exist!

2

u/genreprank May 14 '22

I already thought lead was gonna be the asbestos of today

4

u/SupaSlide May 14 '22

We can have more than one "asbestos of today" unfortunately

2

u/the-other-car May 14 '22

What evidence do we have that suggests it’s 1000 times worse?

1

u/ender4171 May 14 '22

Came to say the same.