Ingesting microplastics, just moments after tearing open a plastic bag

A study published In Scientific Reports, a natural science research firm, suggests that when people open plastic packaging such as plastic bags and plastic bottles during daily tasks, they may produce microplastics, small particles of plastic less than 5 mm in length.

Ingesting microplastics, just moments after tearing open a plastic bag

The harm of microplastics is reflected in the small diameter of their particles, the smaller the size, which means that the surface area (the surface area of the perforated solid son unit mass) is higher, the more capable of adsorption of pollutants – which is why it is more harmful to the environment than the general non-degradable plastics.

Microplastics are thought to come directly from industry, such as exfoliating skin care products, or indirectly from long-term decomposition of larger plastic objects. However, the scientific community has not been fully understood for everyday tasks such as cutting, tearing, unscrewing microplastics produced by plastic packaging and containers.

This time, researchers at the University of Newcastle in Australia monitored microplastics produced when people tore open chocolate bags, cut sealing tape and open plastic bottle caps. They also further confirmed the microplastics produced by these processes through chemical testing and micro-microscopes.

Ingesting microplastics, just moments after tearing open a plastic bag

The team found that tearing or breaking can produce microplastics of different shapes and sizes, including fibers, fragments or triangular pieces, ranging in size from a few nanometers to a few millimeters. The most produced are debris and fibers. The researchers estimate that every 300 cm of plastic is cut or unscrewed, it may produce microplastics ranging from 10 ng to 30 ng (0.00001-0.00003 mg), depending on how it is opened and the conditions of the plastic itself, such as hardness, thickness or density.

The findings suggest that the daily activities of opening plastic bags and plastic bottles may be an additional source of small amounts of microplastics, but the risks, potential toxicity, and the way they are ingested are still needed, and further research is needed for human exposure.