Plastic hitches a ride on rain, snow, and wind to pollute the whole planet

Popular Science | 4/17/2019 | Staff
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Although this new research sheds light on just how far these bits of pollution can travel, airborne microplastic isn’t a novel phenomenon. In 2018, researchers at Heriot-Watt University estimated that the average U.K. citizen consumes more than 10,000 microplastic particles every year through household dust alone. A 2017 study found plastic fibers in Parisian air, both outdoors and inside buildings––the air inside your home likely has more plastic floating around in it than even urban outdoor environments, because of the abundance of sources and lack of ventilation. At the time, scientists speculated that the particles themselves could cause tiny cuts in the lungs, and that the chemicals they encase could trigger long term illness in humans.

“It is likely that all of us inhale fibers, but not all will suffer negative consequences from this exposure,” says Joana Correia Prata, a Ph.D. student at the University of Aveiro in Portugal who has studied the topic but was not involved in the new paper. High concentrations could pose an occupational hazard to people who work under poorly-ventilated conditions, but we’re not sure to what extent as research on the topic is thin. While human impact is still murky, current findings...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Popular Science
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