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Microplastics

Facts For Prelims

 Source: DTE

Context: A report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) highlights the significant impact of microplastics and nano plastics on human and animal gut microbiomes and the environment.

Findings:

  • Exposure to plastic has been observed to cause intestinal inflammation and gut dysbiosis, altering the gut microbiome and microbiota.
  • Microplastics and nano plastics are known to affect soil microorganisms and can enter the food chain. Evidence suggests that these particles have been found in human lung tissue, placenta, stool, blood, and meconium.
  • Most studies in the report indicate alterations in the host due to microplastic exposure, including changes in gene markers, biochemical markers, mucus layer, gut permeability, oxidative stress, immune response, and liver function.

About Microplastics:

Microplastics are plastic particles less than 5mm in diameter. They are of two types,

  • 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.