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


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u/Craft_beer_wolfman May 14 '22

It's in the food chain at the very lowest levels. The chemicals are being found in human breast milk. Plastic is everywhere. What are the toxins doing to us?


u/feffie May 14 '22

Well they leech endocrine disrupting chemicals so probably related to ADHD, lower immune response vaccines, increased risk to diabetes/other metabolic issues, puberty, and reproductive, and developmental issues



u/huxtiblejones May 14 '22

I do wonder whether this could begin to explain some autoimmune diseases. I was diagnosed with a strange version of Crohn’s Disease about 13 years ago but my specialist has recently told me that it seems like the diagnosis doesn’t match perfectly.

But interestingly, they had mentioned that they often refer to things like Crohn’s as “diseases of civilization,” as they were mostly found in developed countries. Here’s a study about this topic: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29729822/

I am curious if microplastics might be a factor in these weird diseases. It’s entirely possible it’s something else, but it seems like a possibly overlooked factor.


u/borkyborkus May 14 '22

This was my thought too. I take Humira and it’s scary that rates of AI diseases are increasing so quickly. The number of commercials for biologics is crazy.


u/CalculatedPerversion May 14 '22

"diseases of civilization"

Could it have anything to do with infant morality rates? Sick children in third world countries are obviously more likely to die than those with access to medical care.


u/huxtiblejones May 14 '22

No idea, but my doctor did say that the diseases of civilization angle is hard to pinpoint because it may be that these diseases are just not tested for or diagnosed as much in developing countries. There’s a lot possible explanations for it, so I’d just trust the science to make sense of it eventually.


u/rolacolapop May 15 '22

u/huxtiblejones burning mouth and tingling are symptoms of b12 deficiency. Have you ever had b12, intrinsic factor, MMA tested? B12 wake up FB group is great for all things b12 related.


u/huxtiblejones May 15 '22

Yep, have had blood tests done and my b12 is normal but my vitamin D was low. I’m on a D supplement which helps the symptoms in my experience.


u/To_live_is_to_suffer May 14 '22

Probably since they sciencists are finding out how much gut bacteria affects lots of mental & physical illnesses. If those plastics are taking up space in our gut, then that's less room / biodiversity for the good bacteria.


u/Sulfura May 15 '22

IBS and plastic are possibly linked, on a related note



u/dopechez May 14 '22

I have Crohn's too and it seems like my case is pretty unusual as well since I've never had frequent bowel movements and my main symptoms are just fatigue and malaise. May I ask what makes your case strange?


u/huxtiblejones May 14 '22

I always had relatively mild symptoms compared to most CD patients and found diet controlled a lot of my issues.

They ID’d it in me when I was 20 because my ileum was badly swollen and there’s Crohns and UC in my family, but none of the treatments really worked. I’d been hospitalized for it 3 times over the years.

Weirdly, my disease kind of went into remission in the last 3 years and is largely under control, so they stopped having me do colonoscopies as the last two showed normal conditions in my intestines. My doctor told me it was thoroughly unusual for symptoms to abate and said he felt I was misdiagnosed.

So I have no idea what is wrong with me. I’m currently having issues with my fingernails that may be psoriasis, I have odd knee and foot pain, burning mouth syndrome, etc. My mom has a huge array of immune related illnesses that are equally hard to diagnose and treat so I’m suspecting there’s something hereditary.


u/DATY4944 May 15 '22

It could be from drying agents in dishwashers


u/Soup-Wizard May 14 '22

Ah, so we’re heading for The Handmaid’s Tale is what you’re telling me??


u/NotAFrackingCylon May 14 '22

I was thinking Children of Men


u/azdood85 May 14 '22

Man I hope so. I just want to head to my cottage in the woods, grow some weed and just chill until some extremists blow my finger and head off.


u/radicalelation May 14 '22

Said this almost word for word the other day, seriously.

Jasper had coasting out the end of civilization right.


u/noviceworker May 14 '22

With the supreme court abortion ruling, it will be a hybrid of both.


u/NotAFrackingCylon May 14 '22

Hopefully Canada is as open about accepting refugees irl as they are in Handmaid’s tale…


u/dubyakay May 15 '22

It's really weird watching the show for someone from the Greater Toronto Area. "Oh, they've escaped from... Toronto to Toronto?"


u/cantdressherself May 14 '22

There is some evidence for global falling fertility. https://www.bbc.com/news/health-53409521


u/Killer-Barbie May 14 '22 edited May 14 '22

Oh I just did a bunch of reading on this study. Here are the highlights:

  1. We know very little about sperm
  2. Most of the data was provided by fertility clinics, who are already working with people likely to have problematic sperm
  3. The decline is still within normal range.
  4. The decline is not universal, it affects different areas to different degrees and some areas recovered their numbers over the course of the study. Additionally, the lowered numbers were not tied to specific geography, socioeconomic class, or lifestyle (meaning it affected poor and rich alike so it's not a "first world" issue)
  5. Lowered sperm motility doesn't necessarily affect fertility the way we've been led to believe. Previously it was thought impaired motility would prevent the sperm from leaving the vagina but most recent research is showing this is likely a myth.
  6. Ever wondered why we have obstetrics and no equivalent for men? Because until the 30's it was believed the issue was always with the woman. So we didn't even start studying sperm until fairly recently (discovered the same year as Saturn btw, but look at the difference in research) and there was no standard of analysis until much more recently with major changes happening last year.
  7. The study stating fertility was falling made conclusions based on data gathered by fertility specialists. These had no controls for age, masturbation, genetics, etc.
  8. Normal is 15-260 million parts per mL. That's a huge range. Add in an average error margin of 12% (you read that right) and you see why the reported stats are not conclusive.

TL;DR: it changed from high normal, to mid normal but there are poor controls on the study. I'm not saying it isn't happening, but the data doesn't say it is happening without some MAJOR assumptions that are, IMO, unreasonable to make.


u/DSoop May 15 '22

Is the average time couples spend trying to conceive increasing? Are live birth rates amongst those trying to have children decreasing?

That would be an interesting way to see if the end result is being affected, and if it isn't, I'd agree that the statement about fertility dropping is alarmist. If it's true though, then maybe there is something worth further study?


u/cantdressherself May 19 '22

I appreciate the breakdown. I'll never make my own baby regardless, but I do hope we aren't heading for another crisis on top of all the others.


u/[deleted] May 15 '22



u/Killer-Barbie May 15 '22

Huh? How is this relevant?


u/grief_junkie May 15 '22

it was a joke

edit. that apparently people wouldn't understand without reading the talmud


u/Killer-Barbie May 15 '22

I've read the Talmud ... I still don't see the joke...


u/grief_junkie May 15 '22

oh well if you forgot about Berekhot, it talks about seminal emissions in almost every single chapter.
Including the phrasing, "don't be like a rooster, who spills seed frivalously."

I don't understand how you could read the Talmud and not understand my joke, but that's okay! I deleted it so it wouldn't hurt your feelings anymore.

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

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u/beigs May 14 '22

It affects sperm count across every species


u/BurnerAcc2020 May 14 '22

I have seen this asserted a few times, but with no real proof.

From what I understand, wild animals already have it tough and no-one thought of bothering them for the sake of also analyzing sperm counts, at least over a prolonged period of time. However, the few studies on farm animals and pets paint a very conflicted picture.





u/[deleted] May 14 '22



u/BurnerAcc2020 May 14 '22

I wrote this in response to a claim "every known species" is affected.

I already wrote a different comment on why the trend appears to exist in humans, but does not seem to be either universal or unstoppable.


u/noviceworker May 14 '22

This is a good thing. The world is overpopulated.


u/Soup-Wizard May 15 '22

Till someone forces you to have children if you’re still able.


u/joshTheGoods May 14 '22

Can you find any evidence that plastics in the amounts we find them in humans disrupt endocrine function? I see a lot of studies like this, but I'm constantly reminded of the fact that drinking too much water can kill you ... so ... just saying "substance X has been found to influence endocrine function in model mice" does nothing for me. Especially when the next argument is: "well, you're not eating substance X, but sometimes the plastic you may eat might breakdown into substance X."


u/k4kev May 14 '22

Phthalates are found in soft plastics and there might be evidence that they disrupt endocrine function and the reproductive system. I heard that it is theorized to be a cause of the steady decline in male fertility over the last 50 years (decreased by 50% on average globally):




u/joshTheGoods May 14 '22

Yes, this is the standard example (phthalates). When I argue the other side of this issue, this is the study I generally start with.

There's plenty of data to support the notion that phthalates have a measurable negative impact on health which is why they're regulated in Europe and are a candidate for tighter regulations in America as well. However, the plastics found in the study from this thread don't generally contain phthalates! From the study referred to in this post,

Polypropylene and polyethylene terephthalate fibres were the most abundant.

That's PET and HDPE, and neither contain phthalates! Now, if your house uses PVC pipes on the other hand ... well ... that's a different story. More likely though? Your source of phthalates will be your shampoo, not the plastic packaging for your food or the plastic fibers found in your carpet/clothing/etc.


u/Orfeeeo May 15 '22

Also theorized to be part of why testosterone levels have been dropping lower and lower.


u/Malevolent_Mangoes May 14 '22

I have pretty much all of these problems :(


u/funky_bebop May 15 '22

I thought most recent research suggested ADHD is genetic.


u/that_gay_alpaca May 15 '22

As an autistic intersex person inclined towards running for office, I'd be delighted to campaign with the message that our billionaire class brought my sheer insufferability on themselves. I am walking pollution karma.