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This article by the BBC has fascinating information about how PFAS chemicals from sewage sludge gets into soil via microplastics, and is absorbed into root crops. It’s a good reason to select organic foods when purchasing carrots, potatoes, parsnips, and other root crops.
From the article:
While the impact of ingesting plastics on human health is not yet fully understood, there is already some research that suggests it could be harmful. Studies show that chemicals added during the production of plastics can disrupt the endocrine system and the hormones that regulate our growth and development.
Chemicals found in plastic have been linked to a range of other health problems including cancer, heart disease and poor foetal development. High levels of ingested microplastics may also cause cell damage which could lead to inflammation and allergic reactions, according to analysis by researchers at the University of Hull, in the UK.
The researchers reviewed 17 previous studies which looked at the toxicological impact of microplastics on human cells. The analysis compared the amount of microplastics that caused damage to cells in laboratory tests with the levels ingested by people through drinking water, seafood and salt. It found that the amounts being ingested approached those that could trigger cell death, but could also cause immune responses, including allergic reactions, damage to cell walls, and oxidative stress.
“Our research shows that we are ingesting microplastics at the levels consistent with harmful effects on cells, which are in many cases the initiating event for health effects,” says Evangelos Danopoulos, lead author of the study and a researcher at Hull York Medical School. “We know that microplastics can cross the barriers of cells and also break them, We know they can also cause oxidative stress on cells, which is the start of tissue damage.”
There are two theories as to how microplastics lead to cell breakdown, says Danopoulos. Their sharp edges could rupture the cell wall or the chemicals in the microplastics could damage the cell, he says. The study found that irregularly-shaped microplastics were the most likely to cause cell death.