Study Reveals Nanoplastic Pollution Detected for the First Time at Earth’s Pole

KOMPAS.com – Pollution nanoplastics has been detected in the area the poles of the Earth for the first time. The findings of this study indicate that now these tiny particles have spread all over the world.

Pollution nanoparticles Plastic smaller and more toxic than microplastics. Nanoplastics are highly toxicologically active compared to microplastics, but the health effects of both on humans are unknown.

“We detected nanoplastics in the farthest corners of the Earth, both in the Arctic Pole and the south,” said research leader Dusan Materic of the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands as quoted from The Guardian, Saturday (22/1/2022).

Core analysis of the ice sheet Greenland which has a depth of 14 meters represents a layer of snowfall since 1965. This shows contamination nanoplastics at the poles been polluting remote areas for at least 50 years.

“What surprised me was not that we detected nanoplastics there, but that we detected them all the way to the core,” said Materic.

So even though nanoplastics are considered a new pollutant, he continued, they have actually been around for decades.

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In the study, scientists also found that pollution nanoplastics at the Earth’s poles, a quarter of the particles come from vehicle tires. nanoparticles it is very light and is thought to be blown into Greenland by winds from cities in North America and Asia.

As for the nanoplastics found in sea ice in the McMurdo Sound in Antarctica, they have most likely been carried by ocean currents to remote continents.

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According to scientists, plastic, which is part of the mixture of chemical pollution on Earth, has crossed the safe limit for mankind.

Plastic pollution have been found from the summit of Mount Everest to the depths of the oceans. In fact, people have been known to accidentally ingest and inhale microplastics, with another recent study finding these particles to cause damage to human cells.

Previously, microplastic pollution has been found in Arctic Pole, but the research team had to develop a new detection method for analyzing much smaller nanoparticles.

This study of nanoplastic pollution at Earth’s poles has shown that worn dust from tires may be a major source of marine microplastics and new research provides compelling evidence.

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Scientists find microplastics in the Arctic, Arctic.

Recent studies have been published in the journal Environmental Research, who found as much as 13 nanograms of nanoplastic per millimeter of ice melted in Greenland, four times as much in Antarctica.

This is probably due to the process of sea ice formation concentrating the particles.

In Greenland, half of the nanoplastics are polyethylene (PE), used in single-use plastic bags and plastic packaging.

While a quarter is tire particles, and a fifth is polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is used in beverage bottles and clothing.

Half of the nanoplastics in Antarctica are PE, but polypropylene, used for food containers and pipes, became the most common after that.

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No tire particles were found in Antarctica, which is further away from populated areas.

Sample study of nanoplastic pollution at Earth’s poles

The researchers sampled only from the center of the ice core to avoid contamination and tested the system with a purified water control sample.

Previous studies have found nanoplastic particles in rivers in England, seawater from the North Atlantic, lakes in Siberia, and snow in the Austrian Alps.

“But we assume the hotspot is the continent where people live,” said Materic.

The researchers wrote that nanoplastics have shown various adverse effects on organisms.

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Human exposure to nanoplastics can cause cytotoxicity and inflammation.

“The most important thing as a researcher is to measure pollution accurately and then assess the situation,” explains Materic.

According to him, the research conducted is still very early to draw conclusions.

Nanoplastic pollution on health

Meanwhile, research is being conducted to determine the impact of plastic pollution to health.

Dr Fay Couceiro, the leader of a new group of microplastics at the University of Portsmouth UK, has investigated the presence of microplastics in the lungs of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma.

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This research will study the factors that trigger the patient’s condition.

“In addition to the environmental damage caused by plastics, there is growing concern about the impact that inhaling and ingesting microplastics has on our bodies,” said Couceiro.

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Studies show that a person is likely to inhale 2,000-7,000 microplastics per day.

This data means that each individual has the potential to inhale or ingest up to 1.8 million microplastics each year and deposit in the body.

“It’s hard to imagine they didn’t do any permanent damage,” said Prof Anoop Jivan Chauhan, a respiratory specialist at the University of Portsmouth Hospital.

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