A breath of fresh...waste? Microplastics found in human lungs

Hull, UK - Plastic pollution is really getting out of hand, and for the first time ever, it has now been found in human lungs.

Tiny particles of plastic could likely already be in your lungs.
Tiny particles of plastic could likely already be in your lungs.  © IMAGO/AAP

A new study released on ScienceDirect found microplastic particles lodged deep inside of nearly every participant's lungs.

The results of the study found 12 different types of plastic in the lungs of 11 patients, who had tiny pieces of their lung tissue removed and analyzed.

The plastics found were 18% polyethylene terephthalate (PET), 23% polypropylene (PP), and 15% resin.

PET is what plastic bottles are made of, while PP goes into a wide range of objects including packaging, plastic bags, and even fabrics. Resin is often used by DIY aficionados to spruce up a table or craft a neat new project.

The microplastics from these different types of plastic clearly made their way into the participants' lungs through inhalation, and the study found that the most plastic particles were at the bottoms of the lung.

The fact that plastic is now in our bodies is a new development. But studies like this one, and the recent discovery of microplastics in humans' bloodstream, will let future work dig deeper to figure out what health problems might be linked to going through life with plastic in our bodies.

Plastic polluting our environment is so bad that there is now more plastic by weight than all living animals on the planet. Good thing there's finally a treaty in the works to figure out how to stop all that waste.

Cover photo: IMAGO/AAP

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