Журнал: Научный журнал «Студенческий форум» выпуск №21(200)

Рубрика: Биология

Выходные данные
Semernin V. IMPACT OF MICROPLASTICS ON HUMAN HEALTH // Студенческий форум: электрон. научн. журн. 2022. № 21(200). URL: https://nauchforum.ru/journal/stud/200/113844 (дата обращения: 27.03.2023).
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Semernin Vladislav
Student, The National Research University Belgorod State University, Russia, Belgorod
Markov Alexander
научный руководитель, Scientific director, Senior lecturer The National Research University Belgorod State University, Russia, Belgorod


Abstract. To date, microplastics are found in Mount Everest, in the waters of the Mariana Trench, in the Arctic ice, in fresh and sea water, in various foods: salt, shellfish, fish, as well as in the human body. A modern person inhales microplastics, eats it, drinks, on average, five grams of microplastics enter his body in a week, which corresponds to two hundred and fifty grams per year (this volume is comparable in weight to two hundred and thirty plastic tubes or eight half-liter plastic bottles). The article examines the impact of microplastics and the environment changed by them on human health.


Keywords: microplastic, bioaccumulation, plastic particles, threat to health, plastisphere, drinking water.


Almost daily there are reports of the detection of microplastics. Found in Lake Baikal, in all oceans, in Arctic waters, in humans, microplastic is practically invisible and has received the title of “all-pervading”. In a Large garbage patch located in the Pacific Ocean, at the moment there are six times fewer solid plastic products than microplastics. Such a volume of plastic is equivalent to ten billion plastic bottles [2].

Microplastic particles are found in huge quantities on our planet. Small plastic particles (unlike large plastic fragments that are visible to the naked eye) can only be detected under a microscope, which makes it difficult to collect and dispose of them.

Spreading imperceptibly, they are found almost everywhere: in sand, air, beer, salt and fish, sediments, water.

In 2018, employees of the Institute of Polar and Marine Research discovered microplastics in the ice of Antarctica and the Arctic. In 2020, a group of scientists from the University of Plymouth microplastic particles were found in the snow of Mount Everest at an altitude of 8440 meters.

Due to the size of the microplastic, it is difficult for a person to notice or assess the ingress of plastic into his body. However, scientists do this by conducting specialized experiments.

Microplastics are plastic particles approximately five millimeters in size. They are formed when larger solid plastic objects are destroyed — for example, when they fall into landfills, cracking under the influence of temperature changes, sunlight, or ending up in the World Ocean, mechanically collapsing (for example, waves from the surf zone).

Today, this term is used to refer to small particles of any type of plastic, not exceeding five millimeters in size (comparable in size to rice grains). In addition to the visible fragments of plastic that are found today on every coastal beach, microplastics are also microscopic particles that are also formed during the washing of clothes containing synthetic materials, or are part of household products — in toothpaste, glitter, shower gels and much more [4].

Independent plastic molecules are stable and harmless. However, in order to achieve the required qualities (fire resistance, flexibility, strength, etc.), plasticizers, stabilizers, dyes are mixed with them, which are often harmful to humans and toxic. If plastic with such additives enters the human body, it poses a serious threat to his health. Microplastics also pose a threat to the animal world. Studies show that some types of phytoplankton suffer from toxic substances contained in it, which leads to its slow growth, problems with metabolism, activation of self-destructive genes. The threat also extends to marine life: turtles, fish, birds and others. Taking plastic particles for food and eating them, animals fill their stomach with food that does not represent energy value, but gain a sense of satiety, which is why they die of hunger.

Scientists from the Robert Koch Institute and the Ministry of the Environment from Germany studied urine and blood samples of two and a half thousand children aged three to seventeen for three years. In ninety-seven percent of urine samples, researchers found traces of eleven of fifteen different types of plastic.

Scientists from the Vienna Medical University followed eight volunteers from different countries, receiving stool samples after seven days. According to the study, volunteers purchased food packed in plastic, some of the subjects consumed oceanic food. Microplastics were found in all fecal samples (in total, nine types of plastics were found, among which were polypropylene and polyethylene terephthalate (PET), used for the production of plastic packaging. These findings suggest that plastic in the form of tiny particles is already in human intestines.

To solve the problem of plastic pollution, including microplastic, scientists are developing its biodegradable substitutes. For example, it is becoming increasingly common for manufacturers to replace plastic bags with biodegradable ones, motivating their actions with the idea that they are more environmentally friendly than conventional polyethylene. However, not every biodegradable bag solves the problem of microplastics. Depending on the materials, without a proper collection system for the described waste, this technology can even exacerbate the problem of plastic pollution.

Summarizing the above, we can conclude that today the problem of microplastics is an important part of the ecological story. Many countries take part in solving this problem by adopting regulatory bills, financially encouraging research work in this area, popularizing information about the prevention of this problem.

Despite the substantial authority of WHO, many countries are seriously concerned about the problem of microplastics and are already taking decisive action, moving not only to the widespread sorting and recycling of waste, but also to the control of goods produced by their economies, the imposition of legislative restrictions on them. The solution of this problem is possible only with the international cooperation of environmental scientists and with the joint actions of all countries of the world community.


List of literature:
1. WHO does not consider microplastics in drinking water dangerous to health yet // Russian Medical Journal, 22.08.2019 — [electronic resource] — Access mode. — URL: https://www.rmj.ru/news/voz-poka-ne-schitaet-mikroplastik-v-pitevoy-vode-opasnym-dlya-zdorovya / (accessed 29.04.2022)
2. D. Nesterov, K. Sabinina / Microplastics inside us // GreenPeace Blogs, 01.02.2021 — [electronic resource] — Access mode. — URL: https://greenpeace.ru/blogs/2021/02/01/mikroplastik-vnutri-nas / (accessed 29.04.2022)
3. I. Chubarenko, Microplastic: how it is formed and what is dangerous // Postnauka, 16.11.2021 — [electronic resource] — Access mode. — URL: https://postnauka.ru/faq/156828 (accessed 29.04.2022)
4. What is microplastic? Is it dangerous for your health? // Coca-Cola in Russia — [electronic resource] — Access mode. — URL: https://www.coca-cola.ru/news-and-trends/trends/recycling/microplastics (accessed 29.04.2022)