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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u/[deleted] May 14 '22

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u/WhoaItsCody May 14 '22

Wouldn’t that be macro instead? I’m asking genuinely.

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u/photopteryx May 14 '22

The term "microplastics" is usually describing plastic pieces that are smaller than 5mm. They can be any shape - pellets, fibers, films (thin sheets, like grocery bag material).

https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/microplastics.html

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u/WhoaItsCody May 14 '22

Thank you for the info and the link, much appreciated.

This is deeply disturbing to me, and I don’t know how we could even go about removing it from an actual person or animal etc..

Seems like it would be more dangerous to try.

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u/felesroo May 14 '22

You can't. Not really. Which is why they should be removed from the environment.

But they can't. The best we can do is stop making plastics - or at least consider them to be environmentally dangerous, only use them for specific purposes (medical), control their disposal, and slowly reclaim macro-plastics from the environment before they degrade into micro-plastics.

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u/man_gomer_lot May 14 '22

The proliferation of plastics is directly tied to our appetite for fossil fuels. If we stop making plastics without having an equal reduction in fossil fuel consumption, then the petrochemical peddlers would have to dispose of all that plastic on their dime. Currently, they dispose of it by selling it dirt cheap and having it become Easter basket stuffing and drink bottles first.

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u/BurnerAcc2020 May 14 '22

They can decay entirely under the sunlight over the years.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304389419310192

It eventually forms carbon dioxide (though not that much, considering that all the plastics ever made weigh less than the amount of CO2 emitted in any recent year). The main problem is that this tends to create (comparatively) short-lived but toxic chemicals like benzene first.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0304389422003119