We all know that microplastics are everywhere. They are found in the water we drink, the fish we eat and the food we eat. A new study has shown that Bottle-fed babies may ingest more than a million pieces of microplastics each day.
Ireland researchers published the study in Journal Nature. The researchers note that a child may consume about 1.5 million particles of microplastics on an average a day. The researchers pointed out that babies in developed countries consumed more microplastics. The study showed that babies in North America consumed 2.3 million microplastics a day. This was 2.6 million in Europe.
Despite such large quantity of microplastic consumed by the babies, the researchers said that there was no need to get alarmed. They point out that there was no evidence to prove health risks by microplastics. The World Health Organisation have last year come out with a report stating that there was no evidence show the risk factor between microplastics and health.
The researchers analysed the rate of microplastic release in ten types of baby bottles. They had followed official guidelines from the World Health Organization on sterilisation and formula preparation conditions. In their 21day test period, they found that the baby bottles released between 1.3 and 16.2 million microparticles per litre. With this calculation, they came to the conclusion that a baby would consume about 1.6 million microplastics on an average per day.
One of the authors John Boland said that the release of microplastics was related to temperature. Boland is professor of chemistry and materials science researcher at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. He said that there was an interaction between plastic and water. Boland said that it was almost like a flaking of the surface of the plastic itself. When the temperature of water rises, it could exacerbate flaking. Shaking also does the same effect, he added.
He said that hundreds of thousands of microplastics are formed when they used water with room temperature in a bottle. But one million to 16 million particles per litre was released when the bottle was filled with water having 158 F temperatures. It was found that the bottles also released trillions of smaller nanoplastics ranging from ten nanometers up to one micron.
Though the health risks of microplastics are not known, the researchers said that the parents can lower the exposure of babies to microplastics if some steps are taken. They said that the water bottles should be left to cool after sterilization in hot water. Te bottles should be rinsed at least three times with water.