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UNM researchers find microplastics traveling to several major organs

David Wakely

Researchers at the University of New Mexico have recently published another paper pointing to microplastics' impact on our digestive systems and their ability to travel to several of our major organs.

Microplastics are tiny particles that are finding their way into our water and food supplies and even the air we breathe. It’s estimated that humans consume 5 grams of these microplastics – the equivalent weight of a credit card – every week.

Postdoctoral fellow Marcus Garcia said that just by exposing healthy mice for four weeks these microplastics were able to move into the tissue of the liver, the kidney, and even the brain.

Garcia continued that through this recent paper the researchers are interested in looking at what can be done from the policy angle.

“Looking towards the future, is there any type of infrastructure that needs to be built or things that we can use our data to be able to tell this story of how these microplastics are affecting us as humans?” said Garcia.

The next steps of this developing research analyze tissue samples from various human organs to see how the accumulation of these microplastics are impacted by specific diets, demographics, and social determinants of health.

This coverage is made possible by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and KUNM listeners. 

Taylor is a reporter with our Poverty and Public Health project. She is a lover of books and a proud dog mom. She's been published in Albuquerque The Magazine several times and enjoys writing about politics and travel.
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