• Tiny particles of plastics, called Microplastics, were detected in human blood for the first time, according to a study by a group of researchers in the Netherlands.
  • The researchers adapted existing techniques to detect and analyze particles that were as small as 700 nanometers in size.
  • They targeted five common plastics, including Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), and polyethylene. 


  • They are defined as plastics less than five millimeters in diameter—smaller in diameter than the standard pearl used in jewelry. It can be harmful to our ocean and aquatic life.
  • There are two categories of microplastics: primary and secondary.

Primary Microplastics: 

  • They are tiny particles designed for commercial use and microfibers shed from clothing and other textiles.
  • g. Microbeads found in personal care products, plastic pellets and plastic fibres.

Secondary Microplastics:

  • They are formed from the breakdown of larger plastics such as water bottles.
  • This breakdown is caused by exposure to environmental factors, mainly the sun’s radiation and ocean waves.

Concerns related to Microplastics

  • Microplastics can latch on to the outer membranes of red blood cells and may limit their ability to transport oxygen.
  • The particles have also been found in the placentas of pregnant women, and in pregnant rats they pass rapidly through the lungs into the hearts, brains and other organs of the foetuses.
  • Microplastics cause damage to human cells in the laboratory and air pollution particles are already known to enter the body and cause millions of early deaths a year.
    In general, babies and young children are more vulnerable to chemical and particle exposure.

Way Forward

  • Combination of Degradation Mechanisms: A combination of photo and biological degradation systems for effective and complete decomposition of microplastics has been suggested.
  • International Collaboration: Plastic waste around the world demands a new global treaty modelled on the Montreal Protocol and the Paris Agreement.


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