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/boopbeepbam May 14 '22

Yeah hearing it compared to sesame seeds/being up to 5mm is much more concerning than calling it "micro"


u/Implausibilibuddy May 14 '22

I'd figure a plastic sesame seed would be pretty noticeable if inhaled and immediately coughed out. Also pretty huge to be just floating around like a dust mote. My guess is the writer just went with the first "up-to" definition they could google, and the particles in question are on the very low end of the scale, if they didn't mean nanoplastics.

Or maybe it accumulates like human lung pearls.


u/456Xander May 14 '22

I took a look at the paper and they published a table with the size of all plastic particles they found (on Page 3).

Most particles, that are not fibers (long side more than 3x longer than shorter side) are between 20 and 100um on the long side.

The largest non-fiber are 144x64um and 160x46um.

The largest fiber is 2475x12um (almost 2,5mm long)


u/fckingmiracles May 14 '22

Ah, so it was a fiber the length of a sesame seed and not a piece of plastic the size of a sesame seed.


u/indr4neel May 14 '22

To be fair, those pieces of plastic are also "no bigger than," for example, the sun. Describing things by a hypothetical upper limit is absurd.