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      Detection of Various Microplastics in Human Stool : A Prospective Case Series

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          Abstract

          Microplastics are ubiquitous in natural environments. Ingestion of microplastics has been described in marine organisms, whereby particles may enter the food chain.

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          Most cited references21

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          Plastic and human health: a micro issue?

          Microplastics are a pollutant of environmental concern. Their presence in food destined for human consumption and in air samples has been reported. Thus, microplastic exposure via diet or inhalation could occur, the human health effects of which are unknown. The current review article draws upon cross-disciplinary scientific literature to discuss and evaluate the potential human health impacts of microplastics and outlines urgent areas for future research. Key literature up to September 2016 relating to bioaccumulation, particle toxicity, and chemical and microbial contaminants were critically examined. Whilst this is an emerging field, complimentary existing fields indicate potential particle, chemical and microbial hazards. If inhaled or ingested, microplastics may bioaccumulate and exert localised particle toxicity by inducing or enhancing an immune response. Chemical toxicity could occur due to the localised leaching of component monomers, endogenous additives, and adsorbed environmental pollutants. Chronic exposure is anticipated to be of greater concern due to the accumulative effect which could occur. This is expected to be dose-dependent, and a robust evidence-base of exposure levels is currently lacking. Whilst there is potential for microplastics to impact human health, assessing current exposure levels and burdens is key. This information will guide future research into the potential mechanisms of toxicity and hence therein possible health effects.
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            Human Consumption of Microplastics

            Microplastics are ubiquitous across ecosystems, yet the exposure risk to humans is unresolved. Focusing on the American diet, we evaluated the number of microplastic particles in commonly consumed foods in relation to their recommended daily intake. The potential for microplastic inhalation and how the source of drinking water may affect microplastic consumption were also explored. Our analysis used 402 data points from 26 studies, which represents over 3600 processed samples. Evaluating approximately 15% of Americans' caloric intake, we estimate that annual microplastics consumption ranges from 39000 to 52000 particles depending on age and sex. These estimates increase to 74000 and 121000 when inhalation is considered. Additionally, individuals who meet their recommended water intake through only bottled sources may be ingesting an additional 90000 microplastics annually, compared to 4000 microplastics for those who consume only tap water. These estimates are subject to large amounts of variation; however, given methodological and data limitations, these values are likely underestimates.
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              Microplastics as an emerging threat to terrestrial ecosystems

              Microplastics (plastics < 5 mm, including nanoplastics which are < 0.1 μm) originate from the fragmentation of large plastic litter or from direct environmental emission. Their potential impacts in terrestrial ecosystems remain largely unexplored despite numerous reported effects on marine organisms. Most plastics arriving in the oceans were produced, used, and often disposed on land. Hence, it is within terrestrial systems that microplastics might first interact with biota eliciting ecologically relevant impacts. This article introduces the pervasive microplastic contamination as a potential agent of global change in terrestrial systems, highlights the physical and chemical nature of the respective observed effects, and discusses the broad toxicity of nanoplastics derived from plastic breakdown. Making relevant links to the fate of microplastics in aquatic continental systems, we here present new insights into the mechanisms of impacts on terrestrial geochemistry, the biophysical environment, and ecotoxicology. Broad changes in continental environments are possible even in particle-rich habitats such as soils. Furthermore, there is a growing body of evidence indicating that microplastics interact with terrestrial organisms that mediate essential ecosystem services and functions, such as soil dwelling invertebrates, terrestrial fungi, and plant-pollinators. Therefore, research is needed to clarify the terrestrial fate and effects of microplastics. We suggest that due to the widespread presence, environmental persistence, and various interactions with continental biota, microplastic pollution might represent an emerging global change threat to terrestrial ecosystems.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Annals of Internal Medicine
                Ann Intern Med
                American College of Physicians
                0003-4819
                September 03 2019
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria (P.S., P.K., T.B., M.T., T.R.)
                [2 ]Environment Agency Austria, Vienna, Austria (S.K., B.L.)
                Article
                10.7326/M19-0618
                31476765
                a2029371-8308-4fba-8905-2f75459cfeef
                © 2019
                History

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