Plastic Particles could lead to Death

Microscopic plastic particles found in fatty deposits lining human arteries may be associated with an increased risk of heart disease, strokes, and death, Italian researchers suggest.

Among 304 patients undergoing procedures to clean a major neck artery, 58% were found to have microplastic particles with rough edges in the lining of blood vessels.

The study led by researcher Rafaelle Marfella from the University of Campania in Naples revealed the presence of polyethylene and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) particles containing chlorine.

The researchers found that those with microplastic particles in the carotid artery plaque faced a 4.5 times higher risk of heart attack, stroke, or death over the next three years, considering other individual risk factors.

Patients with microscopic plastic particles in their plaque tissues also showed elevated levels of inflammatory proteins in their blood, known to play a role in artery hardening and heart attacks.

Polyethylene and PVC, in their various forms, have wide-ranging uses, including food packaging, cosmetics, and water pipes. These plastic particles have been found in drinking water, a variety of foods, cosmetics, and even in the air.

Previous studies identified different types of microscopic plastic particles in various tissues, including the colon, liver, spleen, lymph node tissues, and the placenta. Animal studies have shown that these plastic materials can have toxic effects.

While this new study couldn’t conclusively prove that plastic causes negative effects in patients, it is the first to link microscopic particles to human cardiovascular outcomes.

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