A team of Irish researchers recently determined that bottle-fed babies can ingest more than 1.5 million microparticles every day during the first 12 months of life. Explanations.
An impressive amount of plastic microparticles
Althougha growing number of searches show that humans ingest a large quantity of microparticles resulting from the decomposition of plastic, their consequences on health remain at present rather obscure. As part of the work presented in the journal Nature Food, scientists from Trinity College Dublin specifically looked at the release rate of microplastics in 10 types of baby bottles or accessories made from polypropylene, the plastic most widely used in the manufacture of food containers.
Over a 21-day testing period, involving following official guidelines from theWorld Health Organization When it comes to sterilizing and preparing formula, the team found that the bottles released between 1.3 and 16.2 million plastic microparticles per liter. The data collected was then used to model the potential global microplastic exposure for bottle-fed babies, based on national average breastfeeding rates.
It turned out that a bottle-fed baby was likely to ingest 1.6 million microplastics daily in their first year of life. According to the researchers, sterilization and exposure to high water temperatures had the greatest effect on the release of this type of particles, increasing from 0.6 million per liter on average at 25 ° C to 55 million per liter at 95 ° C.
” At this time, we do not know the potential health risks of the ingestion of microplastics by infants. », Remind the authors. ” This is an area of research that we are actively exploring. “
Developed countries most affected
Irish scientists also noted that this phenomenon affected more developed countries (with 2.3 million particles ingested daily in North America and 2.6 million in Europe), where breastfeeding rates are lower. According to them, these microplastic levels could be easily reduced by adopting a few simple measures, including rinsing the sterilized bottles in cold water and preparing the formula in a non-plastic container.
For Fay Couceiro, specialist in biogeochemistry atUniversity of Portsmouth not having participated in the work, they highlight ” the urgent need to study the impact of microplastics on human health “. But one should not be alarmist when it comes to bottle feeding, which many parents favor for different reasons.
” The risks of not sterilizing bottles or using hot water are well understood and very real, and these known risks of disease must outweigh those of microplastic production until their risks. for health are understood », Concludes the researcher.