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Microplastics have arrived in our arteries

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Microplastics have arrived in our arteries

A groundbreaking study conducted by the University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli in Italy has shed light on the potential risks associated with microscopic plastics in our bodies. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine and described as revolutionary by epidemiologist Philip J. Landrigan, has found that the presence of micro and nano plastics in atherosclerotic plaques can significantly increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and premature death.

Previous research has shown that microplastics can be found in various organs and tissues in the body, including the placenta, breast milk, and urine. However, this study is the first to demonstrate the impact of these plastics on cardiovascular health. By examining 257 patients who underwent endarterectomy for carotid artery disease, researchers found that over half of the patients had plaques contaminated with tiny particles of polyethylene and PVC, common types of plastic used in everyday items.

Patients with plastic-contaminated plaques were found to have at least twice the risk of experiencing a stroke, heart attack, or premature death compared to those with plastic-free plaques. Additionally, the plaque tissue showed signs of increased inflammation, which is associated with chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease.

While the study does not prove a direct link between plastic contamination and cardiovascular events, lead author Raffaele Marfella stresses the importance of confirming these findings in larger populations. The presence of microplastics and nanoplastics in plaque tissue raises questions about their role as potential cardiovascular risk factors and the need to reduce exposure to these harmful particles.

Overall, this study highlights the urgent need for further research on the impact of plastics on human health and provides valuable insights into the potential risks associated with the widespread use of plastic in our daily lives.

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