We have known for a while that microplastics are in our bloodstreams, making their way into our bodies through daily consumables like milk and meat. The foreign presence of micro and nano-plastic particles (MNPs) in our bodies is dangerous for obvious reasons, and they can potentially reach remote locations and penetrate living cells.
In a scary confirmation of this potentiality, a new study has found that polystyrene, a widely-used plastic found in food packaging, could be detected in the brain just two hours after ingestion.
The blood-brain barrier is a network of blood vessels and tissue that helps keep toxins and harmful substances from reaching the brain. The blood-brain barrier is an important cellular barrier that allows only water, oxygen, general anesthetics, and carbon dioxide to pass into the brain.
“In the brain, plastic particles could increase the risk of inflammation, neurological disorders, or even neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s,” said Lukas Kenner, lead author of the study, in a press release.
The study was carried out in an animal model
The researchers conducted their study on six mice, three of which were orally administered polystyrene. They euthanized the mice two to four hours after ingestion, allowing the team to harvest their brains and test for the presence of plastic.
The team found that the MNPs had crossed the blood-brain barrier and were present in the mice's brains. These plastic particles can increase the risk of neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration, as has been observed in previous studies.