World-first research to detect and measure nano plastics in the human body

World-first research to detect and measure nano plastics in the human body

We are living in the midst of a plastic pandemic.

We know plastic is polluting our planet, our waterways our food system and our bodies. Now, a world-first study is being conducted in Queensland, to find out exactly how harmful micro plastics are to humans.

The Plastic Pandemic

Over the last few decades, micro plastics have become increasingly present in the environment. Once plastic has been introduced to the environment, the problem is cumulative as micro plastics break down to smaller and smaller particles over time.

When looking at plastic contamination in our food chain, we can see that micro plastics become more concentrated as they go up the food chain. Smaller animals consume the particles, larger animals eat the smaller animals.

Studies have indicated that the average adult human ingests more than 100,000 micro plastic particles every day.

Humans are exposed to plastics every single day, however, we currently don’t have a lot of data on what effect this is having on our health.

World-first Australian Research

Tucked away inside a plastics contamination-controlled laboratory, researchers from the University of Queensland are testing blood and tissue samples to detect nano plastics in the human body.

In a partnership with the Minderoo Foundation, chaired by no less than Dr Andrew Forrest AO, they are conducting world first research within a unique lab with state-of-the-art equipment. It’s an ambitious project that as meant the construction of a purpose-built facility that does itself not leach plastics. To meet this aim, the building was constructed almost entirely out of welded stainless steel.

Because there are plastics everywhere – in every lab – research such as this has previously not been possible. Researchers have simply not been able to accurately measure plastic particles to determine whether they, or the chemicals associated with them, pose a risk to human health. Now, these world leading experts have been able to develop techniques to measure very small concentrations of plastic molecules, enabling them to conclusively detect and measure them in the human body.

The research team are expected to release their first findings by year’s end.

Becoming part of the plastic pandemic solution

With a commitment to reducing plastic as a fundamental pillar of our business, Papyrus Australia is extremely conscious of the prevalence of plastics and their cumulative effect within our environment.

As the developer of a world-first, sustainable technology that produces a 100% environmentally friendly alternative to plastic food packaging, we are proud to be part of the solution to the plastic pandemic.

Find out more about our technology here.

Papyrus Australia welcomes this study and the collaborations that are expected to result in further research across the globe.