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Breathing Plastic: Unveiling the Health Risks of Microplastics in the Air

What’s in the Air?

It’s now confirmed: We are breathing microplastics. You may have heard that microplastics are everywhere, but the extent of their presence is staggering. Everyday items like clothing, food packaging, cosmetics, car tires, and even toothpaste shed tiny plastic particles that end up in our bodies. Doctors have found plastic in our blood, breast milk, feces, and lungs. A study published in Environment International detected microplastic particles in the blood of 77% of participants. The most common types found were polyethylene terephthalate (PET), used in disposable water bottles, and polystyrene, used in food packaging and foam products.

Living With Microplastics

Key Findings:

1. Inhalation of Microplastics:

  • We breathe an average of 11.3 pieces of microplastic per hour, or 272 pieces per day.
  • Vigorous physical activity increases inhalation of microplastics.
  • Slower breathing during rest allows smaller particles to lodge deeper in the lungs.

2. Health Implications:

Lung Cancer:

  • Microplastics can alter the composition of lung cells.
  • They persist in cancer cells and may contribute to their spread.

Inflammation and Respiratory Diseases:

  • Microplastics induce inflammation in pulmonary cells.
  • This can lead to oxidative stress and respiratory health issues, including lung cancer.

3. High-Risk Groups:

  • Workers in the plastics industry, oil extraction and refineries, and waste disposal sites.
  • People living near these sites.
  • Urban dwellers due to higher pollution levels and dense traffic.
  • Young children and infants who spend more time close to the ground where microplastics accumulate.
  • People living near major roadways where tire degradation releases particles into the air.

Dangerous Additives:

PFAS (Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances):

  • Added to plastics to enhance performance.
  • Classified by IARC as carcinogenic to humans, linked to cancers like kidney and testicular cancer.
  • Persistent in the environment and human body, leading to bioaccumulation and long-term exposure risks.

Endocrine Disruptors:

  • Interfere with the endocrine system, causing cancerous tumors, birth defects, and
  • developmental disorders.
  • Mimic hormones like estrogen, androgen, and thyroid hormones, potentially overstimulating
  • the body.
Microplastics We Breathe

Protecting Yourself:

Air Filters:

  • Adding a high-quality air filter like Carico’s Nutri-Tech Deluxe can remove more than 99.97% of tiny particles.
  • Pure Home 365 Compact units in bedrooms can improve sleep quality by ensuring cleaner air.

Understanding and mitigating the risks associated with microplastics in our air is crucial for our health and well-being. Implementing these protective measures can help reduce exposure and safeguard against potential health issues. Visit