Babies have 15 times more microplastics in their bodies than adults, a new study has found.
Researchers looked for the presence of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polycarbonate (PC) in the faeces of 10 adults and six babies from New York.
They found at least one type of microplastic in each sample, with babies having more than 10 times as many microplastics as adults, according to euronews.
Researchers think the reason why babies consume more microplastics than adults is because they chew on toys like dummies and crawl on carpets containing microplastics.
Cell death, inflammation and metabolic disorders
It comes after scientists found that microplastics can enter humans’ circulation. In lab animals, the damage consisted of cell death, inflammation and metabolic disorders.
Microplastics also harm the environment, and research from Duke University last year revealed they affect fish’s reproductive hormones.
The way microplastics often end up in the ocean is through our washing of synthetic clothes, so we can prevent this is by not buying synthetic fibres, buying filters for microplastics and waiting for a full load to put the washing machine on.
Throwing existing synthetic fibres from homes is not a solution for the environment – it means they do not break down in landfills.
Mussels are also helpful in cleaning the sea from microplastics.
Study found people consume ‘a credit card worth of plastic’ weekly
In 2019, a WWF study called ‘Assessing Plastic Ingestion from Nature to People’ reported that people consume 2,000 tiny pieces of plastic each week, on average, which is the equivalent of eating a teaspoon of plastic or a credit card.
Carried out by Australia’s University of Newcastle the research found that water, both bottled and tap, was the largest single source of plastic ingestion, but large amounts of microplastics were found in the food chain and in the air.
Since 2000 the world has produced as much plastic as all the proceeding years combined, a third of which is leaked into nature.
By 2030 some 104 million metric tons of plastic could be released into the environment unless drastic action is taken.
UK government policy is ‘dumping plastic waste on other countries’
Earlier this year, campaigners welcomed moves by Turkey to ban imports of plastic waste after it emerged UK rubbish was being dumped in the country.
The Turkish trade ministry added ethylene polymer plastics – which includes plastic film and bags and containers for shampoos and detergents – to its list of waste materials that are illegal to import.
It came after a report from Greenpeace which highlighted how UK plastic was found dumped and burned across southern Turkey.
The organisation tweeted: “What’s the UK government’s plastic policy? Dump it on other countries!
“Less than 10 per cent of our plastic recycling is actually recycled in the UK. The rest is sent overseas where it’s often burned or dumped, fuelling health and wildlife emergencies.”