According to a study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, scientists at Hong Kong Baptist University report that nanoplastic particles can enter liver and lung cells, disrupting their normal processes, potentially leading to adverse health outcomes. Plastics are everywhere, and they release tiny and nano-sized fragments that can be accidentally inhaled. While the health risks of nanoplastics to humans are not fully understood, recent studies have shown that particles smaller than 100 nanometers in diameter can enter the blood and organs of animals, leading to inflammation, toxicity and neurological changes. In the latest study, the researchers grew human liver and lung cells separately on laboratory plates and treated them with varying numbers of 80-nanometer-wide plastic particles. Two days later, electron microscope images showed that the nanoplastic had entered both types of cells, but did not kill them. When liver and lung cells were exposed to more nanoplastics, they produced more reactive oxygen species and different amounts of nucleotides, nucleosides, amino acids, peptides, and carboxylic acids, suggesting that multiple metabolic processes were disrupted. In some cases, mitochondrial pathways appear to be dysfunctional.
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