A new study published this month has discovered microplastics in the placenta of pregnant women, prompting scientists to suggest the matter posed harmful health risks.
The study, published in the January 2021 edition of Environmental International, found small particles of plastic in placentas for at least four healthy pregnant women that were small enough to be transported into the bloodstream, according to Fox 10 Phoenix.
Researches found at least 12 microplastic fragments in the fetal and maternal sides of the placenta that had a spherical or irregular shape, as reported by Fox 10, and were about 10 microns in size.
Microplastics found in placentas of pregnant women for first time https://t.co/UgFqqOuOkx
— The Independent (@Independent) December 22, 2020
“Due to the crucial role of placenta in supporting the fetus development … the presence of exogenous and potentially harmful (plastic) particles is a matter of great concern,” the article said in its conclusion.
The article also said that the microparticles could “alter several cellular regulating pathways” and could lead to “adverse pregnancy outcomes” such as “preeclampsia and fetal growth restriction.” (RELATED: World Health Organization Pledges Not To Find ‘Guilty’ Party During Coronavirus Investigation In China)
The scientists could not determine exactly how the microplastics were absorbed into the bloodstream, according to Fox 10, but it was possible that they had been consumed or breathed in by the mother.
Only four percent of the placentas were analyzed, according to Fox 10, which could suggest that the total number of microplastics could be significantly higher than reported.
Scientists also warned that the microplastics could trigger immune reactions, as reported by Fox 10, and act as carriers for other chemicals and could lead to more harmful effects.
The study was conducted by over a dozen scientists in Italy from five different hospitals across the country.