Microplastics Risk
Bay IVF - Advanced Reproductive Care                                Palo Alto  650-322-0500

 

Microplastics

By Francis Polansky, M.D.

The just-published report from the World Health Organization (WHO) is the first major international study to examine the potential human health risks caused by exposure to microplastics in drinking water.

Microplastics are plastic particles smaller than 5 micrometers (0.0002 inches) in length, but particles in drinking water may be as small as 1 micrometer.

Every day we are ingesting tiny pieces of plastic with our food, beverages, and the air we breathe the report warns.

Not surprisingly, the study found that there are more microplastics present in bottled water than in tap water.

According to WHO, it is difficult to gauge the potential impact on human health, especially if concentrations of microplastics in drinking water continues to rise.

Studies published in 2018 showed that plastic particles could stay within an immune cell in the gut lining, be passed into our lymphatic system ending up in the lymph nodes, or potentially enter the bloodstream and possibly accumulate in the liver.

Microplastic pollution may be having an impact on people’s hormones. Microplastics release thousands of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) including phthalates.

Chemicals in plastic are suspected of increasing the incidence of abnormal development, ranging from suboptimal fertility to male and female genital malformations.

 

Plastics and Conception

 

This graphic shows the biggest producers of plastic worldwide, as well as predicted growth for the future.

It is impossible to avoid exposure to plastics/microplastics, but an attempt should be made to minimize one’s exposure to them.

Filtration can remove almost all microplastics from drinking water. If you are trying to conceive, it is probably safer to drink filtered tap water rather than bottled water unless it is spring water bottled at the source into glass or metal containers.

 

September 2019

 

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