The price we pay for living in an industrial civilization is reading alarming news about pollutants, from PCBs to PFAS to microplastics. Microplastics, extremely small pieces of plastic debris that flake off of industrial waste and plastic consumer products, are believed to be causing adverse health effects in nearly every form of life on Earth that they touch. Yet there’s an even bigger threat to human health that is, paradoxically, smaller in size: nanoplastics.
“These plastic materials, when they end up in environmental media, they start breaking into smaller pieces over time,” Dr. Philip Demokritou, the Henry Rutgers Chair and professor in nanoscience and environmental bioengineering at the Rutgers School of Public Health, told Salon. “After 50-60 years, they are everywhere, they are in the water you drink, even the air you breathe, because we also incinerate plastic materials. We are still assessing how they behave, how they interact with biological systems, and if they can cause adverse health effects.
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