Bottle-fed Babies Swallow Millions of Microplastics a Day, Study Finds

Microplastics in the environment were already known to contaminate human food and drink Photograph: Tetra Images, LLC/Alamy Stock Photo

Bottle-fed babies are swallowing millions of microplastic particles a day, according to research described as a “milestone” in the understanding of human exposure to tiny plastics.

Scientists found that the recommended high-temperature process for sterilising plastic bottles and preparing formula milk caused bottles to shed millions of microplastics and trillions of even smaller nanoplastics.

The polypropylene bottles tested make up 82% of the world market, with glass bottles being the main alternative. Polypropylene is one of the most commonly used plastics and preliminary tests by the scientists found kettles and food containers also produced millions of microplastics per litre of liquid.

Microplastics in the environment were already known to contaminate human food and drink, but the study shows that food preparation in plastic containers can lead to exposure thousands of times higher.

The health impacts are unknown and the scientists say there is an “urgent need” to assess the issue, particularly for infants. The team has also produced sterilisation guidelines to reduce microplastic exposure. Read more…

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