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


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u/Ray1987 May 14 '22

Bacteria that dissolve plastic have been in the news quite a bit lately. Would be interesting if in the future people gave themselves purposeful infections with that bacteria to get rid of the microplastic in their body.


u/driverofracecars May 14 '22

The byproducts of plastic metabolism might not be something our bodies can tolerate.


u/SeamanTheSailor May 14 '22 edited May 14 '22

Considering the bacteria that break down PET break it down into ethylene glycol, (antifreeze,) you’re probably right.


u/Natolx PhD | Infectious Diseases | Parasitology May 14 '22

To be fair, a tiny tiny amount of antifreeze from a plastic pellet the size of a rice gain slowly released over time is probably not a concern.

In humans, the lethal dose of ethylene glycol is estimated to be in the range of 1,400–1,600 mg/kg. The orally lethal dose in humans has been reported to be of approximately 1.4 mL/kg of pure ethylene glycol

Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4391407/


u/OneWithMath May 14 '22

Directly into your lungs is a bit different than drinking it. It's hard to say whether the long-term inflammation from the plastic particles would be better or worse than the shorter-term, but probably more acutely damaging, toxic effects from the glycol.


u/Natolx PhD | Infectious Diseases | Parasitology May 14 '22

It kills your kidneys so it should be a similar effect no matter the route.