A small study has shown that babies may be more susceptible to microplastics than adults.
Researchers found that microplastics were 10 times more common in infant feces than they were in adult feces.
Microplastics can come from plastic toys or baby bottles that babies chew.
Microplastics are all around. Our garbage has polluted the oceans, contaminating the wildernesses of Antarctica.
It's not surprising that plastic is also in our bodies. Plastic has been found in our feces as a result eating out of plastic containers. A pilot study that was done in New Zealand has revealed something shocking: Babies have higher levels of microplastics than adults in the same region.
In New York City, six-year-old infants had more microplastics in their feces than 10 adults. Three newborns in New York had meconium (the earliest stool) concentrations that were closer to adults.
This finding suggests that infants are more exposed to microplastics that adults. It could be due to factors like sippy cups, pacifiers, sippy cup lids and baby-safe plastic feeding utensils.
These results indicate that further research is needed to determine the cause of this phenomenon, particularly as any adverse health effects on babies may be even more serious.
The researchers stated that their data provided baseline evidence of microplastic exposure doses in infants, and adults. They also supported the need to conduct further studies with larger samples to confirm and expand their findings.
Researchers found that infant feces contained the highest levels of microplastics
Alexis Small prepares Aubrielle Kitchen for her visit to family members in Los Angeles on November 26, 2020. Brandon Bell/Getty Images
Although the health effects of microplastics ingestion are not known, it could have serious consequences for your health. Recent research suggests that microplastics smaller than a threshold size can cross cell membranes to enter the circulatory system and negatively impact cell function.
Kurunthachalam Kannan, a pediatrician at New York University, led a team of researchers to evaluate human exposure to two types of common microplastics polyethylene terephthalate. (PET) is used to make clothing and food packaging. (PC) is used in toys and bottles.
Researchers collected feces samples from six infants aged one and 10 adults. They also took meconium from three babies born at birth. After scanning plastic samples, they used mass spectrometry to analyze the samples. Each fecal sample contained at most one type of plastic. However, the differences between one-year-olds and adults was quite striking.
Researchers wrote that they found significant differences between the microplastic patterns in infant and adult feces.
"PET concentrations in infant feces were significantly higher than in adult, but concentrations of microplastics in PC feces were not significantly different between these two age groups." Microplastics found in infant and adult feces are thought to have been primarily derived from diet.
Microplastics can be leached from baby bottles and teething toys
The average infant feces contained more PET than adult. There are many possible causes of this discrepancy. However, the sample was too small to be conclusively ruled out.
Because they are less likely to break than glass or ceramic, plastic bowls, cups, and spoons are safer for babies. Plastic teething toys are available for babies to chew. There are also plastic teething toys that can be used for baby's teething.
Plastic products and clothing are often ingested by infants under one year of age. The researchers also noted that infant formula made in PP bottles can release millions upon contact with microplastics. They also found that many baby foods packaged in plastic containers could expose infants to these chemicals.
"Furthermore textiles are a source for PET microplastics. Babies often chew and suck textiles. This makes exposure to microplastics in textiles more concerning.
The researchers stated that these findings show the need for deeper research into this phenomenon.