Microplastics Uncovered in Human Lung Tissue

We recently published highlights from scientific research that discovered microplastics in human blood. Now scientists have uncovered microplastics in human lung tissue.

Scientific discovery overview

In addition to microplastics being present in human blood, scientists have recently discovered microplastics in other parts of the bodies of both humans and animals–plastic particles have been found in the spleen, kidneys and liver of both live and deceased humans. “Suspecting that micro-sized bits of might be inhaled by some people, researchers worked with surgical teams and their patients. The patients were undergoing surgery for treatment of various lung ailments and agreed to allow tissue removed from their lungs during surgery to be examined by the research team. Under such an arrangement, the research team was able to collect 13 samples, each of which were examined under a microscope. They found bits of plastic in 11 of the 13 samples.

“In studying the bits of plastic, the researchers found 12 different kinds, including those used in common household applications, such as clothing, packaging and bottles. But most surprising was where the plastic bits were found. In addition to the upper part of the lungs, where such particles would be expected to collect, the team found them in the lower regions. This was surprising because the airways in such parts of the lungs are much smaller, making it much more difficult for particles to reach them. The researchers were also surprised to find higher levels of the plastics in as opposed to .” (source)


Journal reference: Lauren C. Jenner et al., Detection of microplastics in human lung tissue using μFTIR spectroscopy, Science of The Total Environment (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.154907