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Italian study detects microplastics in human placentas

A number of international studies have focused on the issue of microplastics and their effects on human life and health. An Italian study has now detected, for the first time, the presence of this component in human placentas. Learn more with Baby on Board.

Plastic is an element that is part of our day and has been studied, not only for its environmental impact but also for the harmful effects its use can have on species, including humans.

Various studies have shown that the use of this element and its incorrect disposal has caused the planet to become contaminated with microplastics that, in addition to being found in many foods, increasing their toxicity, are also inhaled and consumed by humans.

From first pregnancy test to hour H, this is another of the issues that can worry pregnant women, causing them to question, for example, the consumption of fish or of seafood, since they come from one of the most contaminated mediums: the ocean. (1)

While questions arise, in gestation and throughout the human’s life, the truth is that the impact of microplastics on human health is not yet fully studied, and their actual effects are still unknown.
Look at the Italian study that linked microplastics to the human placenta.

Microplastics in the placenta: learn about the study

The scientific journal Environment International recently published a study conducted by two Italian hospitals, where placentas donated by women who had been mothers were analyzed. (2)

To ensure the reliability of this study, healthy donors were chosen, with no history of smoking or alcohol consumption and whose delivery had been a natural delivery, with no cases of prematurity. Moreover, the entire birth procedure was done without using any plastic components, and even the gloves used by midwives and obstetricians had cotton as a material.

The intent of the study was to understand whether the placenta – an organ that, as we know, regulates and ensures fetal nutrition and oxygenation – contained microplastics. The major concern was therefore related to the effect that the presence of this component may have on fetal development, since plastic contains elements in its composition that can act as endocrine disruptors.

The results of the study

In this study, the researchers analyzed six placentas using the Raman spectroscopy method — a high-resolution technology — finding a total of twelve microplastic fragments, of which three were on the chorioamniotic membranes, five were on the fetal side, and four were on the maternal side.

These particles were pigmented, and most (nine of the twelve) were identified as pigments used in cosmetics and personal care products.

The actual effects of the presence of these microplastics in the placenta are not yet known, although it is believed that there may be worrying consequences.

New studies should be conducted around this issue. (3)

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