VIENNA, AUSTRIA — Humans are consuming about five grams of plastic, the equivalent to a credit card’s worth, every week, according to a new review in the Health and Exposure journal.
Gut News explains that both microplastics, between 0.001 and 5 millimeters in size, and nanoplastics, less than 0.001 millimeters, enter our food chain after starting out as waste packaging.
These particles can enter the body through seafood, with fish known to mistake them for food or accidentally consume them alongside other food, but they can also enter the body when we drink from plastic bottles, with people who drink 1.5 to 2 liters of water a day from these bottles taking in 90,000 plastic particles per year, while tap water drinkers take in around 40,000.
The particles can trigger local inflammation and immune response, and nanoplastics in particular have been found to trigger chemical pathways involved in the formation of cancer.
The presence of both types of particles in the gastrointestinal tract has also been found to change the gut microbiome composition, linking it to metabolic diseases such as diabetes, obesity and chronic liver disease.