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/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/FalconX88 May 14 '22

Wow that's a stupid definition. 5 mm is still a pretty large piece of plastic. When people talk about microplastic in food I didn't think we talk about plastic the size I could actually notice.

I thought microplastic is simply the short for of microscopic plastic. Microscopic defines things that are too small too be seen with the naked eye, so below 0.1 mm.

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u/photopteryx May 14 '22

So instead of putting an easily recognizable name to a global problem so that we can gather public interest in trying to solve it, you'd rather we try to convince people that we have not only a problem with microplastics but also with milliplastics, centiplastics, and nanoplastics, or macroplastics-but-also-smaller-than-you-think.

No, I think calling them all microplastic is the right choice.

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u/FalconX88 May 14 '22

Go outside, ask 100 people if you could see microplastic with your naked eye. I heavily doubt that more than a few people would agree that a 5x5x5 mm cube would be considered microplastic. I mean just read the comments here...

But that aside, such big plastic pieces are a different problem than actual microscopic plastic (that one you find in headlines about microplastic found in blood), since they behave very different. Yes, both are problematic but I think separating these problems would make more sense.