For years now, humanity has been aware of the impact we have on our planet – especially when it comes to the production and disposal of plastic. Everywhere we turn, there’s plastic: in the water, along the road, and according to a recent study, there’s even plastic in expecting mothers’ placentas – and newborn babies.
The Shocking Truth about Plasticenta
According to a study published Environment International in January 2021, plastic isn’t just polluting the planet. It’s now polluting our bodies, too. A group of researchers collected six human placentas, and they were then analyzed by a team at Raman Microspectroscopy. In total, they found 12 microplastic fragments ranging in size from 5 to 10 micrometers in four of the six placentas. The implications of this are terrifying as they indicate that a significant part of the population has harmful microplastics in our bodies. They’ve even coined the condition “plasticenta.”
It’s in the Babies, Too
Further research published in Environmental Science and Technology Letters in September 2021 is even scarier. It found that babies tend to have 15 times more microplastics in their bodies than adults. Researchers believe that babies are consuming this plastic through the routine use of chew toys and pacifiers, and a few have even suggested that infants may be picking up microplastics from the carpets they crawl on since those are made from plastic fibers. No one is sure what the long-term implications of this might be, but it’s safe to say that microplastics do not belong inside the human body.
It’s Time to Stand Up for What’s Right
For decades now, local, state, federal, and even international governments have continued to drag their feet when it comes to regulating the way plastic is manufactured and used. Though great strides have been made in the last 30 or so years, significant damage has already been done. Plastic is everywhere in our environment, and these studies show that it’s virtually impossible to avoid it. It’s time to stand up for ourselves, our communities, and especially our children so that we can clean up the existing plastic and create a better world in the future.
What Can You Do to Help?
If reading this news is shocking for you (and it certainly is for us), remember that there are things you can do to help reduce your own plastic footprint. When you shop for anything, whether it’s food, laundry detergent, or even oral care products, do your very best to avoid plastic packaging. Every jug of detergent and every plastic toothbrush handle any human has ever used is still in existence, and it’ll still be there when our great-great-great-great-grandchildren inherit this planet from us.
While we can’t undo what’s already been done, we can examine our options today and make better choices for tomorrow. The world must work together to reduce and even eliminate plastic from our everyday lives as much as we possibly can. Otherwise, plasticenta is just the beginning, and no one really knows the long-term consequences. We know better than we did before. It’s time for us to do better.