General, Research, Technology

How does plastic get into children's bodies and can it be avoided?

Irish scientists have shared disturbing news. In the course of their study, it turned out that every day about one million microscopic plastic particles... Sources of potentially hazardous substancesare the bottles from which many parents feed their newborn babies. Before making nutritional mixtures, the bottles are disinfected in hot water and it is after heating that the plastic begins to break down into tiny particles. They enter the organisms of children, but scientists still do not know if plastic is harmful to their health. But they know how to keep children safe from swallowing microplastics. To do this, you just need to follow a few rules.

Particles of plastic regularly enter the organisms of children. But are they harmful?

Plastic particles in food

Microwave containers, electric kettles, baby feeding bottles and many other utensils are made from the same type of plastic - polypropylene... Scientists have long known that plastic products break down over time into tiny particles, referred to as microplastic... Many researchers are concerned thatmicroscopic plastic particles enter the environment and can harm nature. In the course of one study, it was found that tiny particles of plastic can slow down the growth of plants. But can plastic get into human bodies and cause harm?

Infants swallow plastic particles with infant formula

Microplastic really gets into ourorganisms and this has long been a proven fact. In 2019, a large concentration of microscopic plastic particles was found in the bodies of children from Germany. As it turned out, particles invisible to human vision are even in the organisms of babies. Especially many plastic particles are swallowed by children whose parents have refused to breastfeed. On average in the world, every day 1.58 million microparticles per day... In Europe and the United States, some children ingest up to 2.1 million microplastics every day. And the source of these particles, as mentioned above, are plastic bottles.

See also: Microplastic rain - what is the danger of a new natural phenomenon?

How is microplastic formed?

Before feeding the baby, everyone in chargethe parent disinfects the bottle in boiling water. Then water with a temperature of about 70 degrees Celsius and a powdery mixture are poured into the container. To prevent the child from getting burnt, the mixture is cooled in cold water to the optimum temperature. Tiny particles of plastic are separated from the bottles as the mixture is prepared, the researchers said. And the hotter the water used, the more potentially harmful substances enter the organisms of children along with food.

It is recommended to disinfect the bottle before preparing infant formula

According to the scientific journal Nature Food, withusing 25-degree water, about 600 thousand particles of microplastics are released per liter of the mixture. And if you use the recommended 70-degree water, for every liter there are whole 16 million particles of microplastics... Do these particles harm the child's body,scientists still do not know. But earlier, representatives of the World Health Organization put forward the assumption that microplastics do not harm human health. At least in the short term.

Safe feeding of children

Therefore, researchers are by no meansurge to give up plastic bottles. You can use them. But if parents want to reduce the amount of microplastics entering the bodies of children, they can use one trick. To clean the bottles of microscopic plastic particles, you need to prepare a formula in the following order:

  • sterilize the bottle in hot water and let it cool;
  • boil water in a metal container, let it cool down and rinse the bottle at least three times;
  • to mix hot water with a powdery mixture, you need to use a separate metal dish;
  • after the mixture has cooled, it must be poured into a plastic bottle.

According to the researchers, this methodpreparation of infant formula is able to reduce the amount of microplastics to a minimum. And scientists categorically do not recommend heating baby food in the microwave. Not only does this method also involve the formation of microscopic particles of plastic, but the mixture is heated unevenly. After a few warm sips of the warm mixture, the child may swallow the hot mixture. And this is fraught with burns.

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It is important to note that microplastics in largequantity also enters the organisms of adults. There are many sources, ranging from the same plastic bottles to animal meat. You can read about what harmful substances are contained in seafood in this material.