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Microplastics: More Than Skin Deep?

Daniel Kim Views  

A recent study found that only a minuscule amount of microplastics exposed to the skin reach the bloodstream.

The study, which used a human skin model to investigate the absorption of microplastics into the skin and bloodstream, was published in the International Environmental Journal.

Microplastics are plastic particles less than 5mm (0.2 in) in size. They are easily encountered daily, and their health-related issues are actively being researched. The main focus in microplastic research is not the microplastics but the associated chemical additives. A prime example of such an additive is a flame retardant, which prevents plastic from catching fire quickly.

The researchers used a 3D human skin model to investigate whether these substances could pass through the skin and enter the bloodstream when humans are exposed to microplastics and added flame retardants.

The study found that five flame retardants used in the experiment (BDE 47, 99, 100, 153, and 183) passed through the skin barrier and reached the bloodstream. However, only a tiny amount (less than 0.14%) of the exposed microplastics reached the bloodstream. About 8% accumulated in the skin, with variations depending on the type of microplastic or flame retardant.

The dryness and humidity of the skin also affected the absorption of microplastics. Absorption increased in sweaty or moist skin, except for BDE 47.

Based on these results, the researchers concluded that only a minuscule amount of microplastics reach the bloodstream even when exposed.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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