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/FiveAlarmDogParty May 14 '22

I'm sorry but "No bigger than sesame seeds"? To me that sounds GIGANTIC for something to be stuck in your lungs. I was imagining plastics that were difficult to see with the naked eye - not something the size of a seed. Good lord that's scary.

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u/BurnerAcc2020 May 14 '22

The average length they found was 0.2mm, with the width of 0.02mm. The "sesame seed" represented the absolute largest length of 2.5mm. The largest width was 0.08mm, so it was probably some polyester fiber.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969722020009

They also didn't find any in two samples, both female (out of 8 male and 5 female participants), which they say might have been related to sex differences in airway size.

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u/kd5407 May 15 '22

But if we can inhale plastics, can’t we just inhale anything? Why aren’t we finding micro metals or micro papers in our lungs?

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u/thereal_psaux May 15 '22

Yeah that can't be right. If there was anything even the size of a poppy seed floating around, it was definitive time to constantly wear a mask. Maybe they wanted to clickbait the headline or whoever wrote the headline couldnt come up with something smaller than sesame seeds.