Nanoparticles of plastic in food and water, when ingested by pregnant rats, can interfere with the development of the fetus, researchers at Rutgers University found. The results of the work were published in the journal Nanomaterials.
Due to the erosion of plastic, its microparticles can enter the environment: water, air, and even food. Previous studies have shown that such “additives” can adversely affect human health, but whether plastic can be passed from mother to child in the womb remained unknown.
The scientists selected five pregnant rats that were fed with specially labeled nanoscale plastic. As it turned out, the particles penetrated not only into the placenta of rats, but also into the liver, kidneys, heart, lungs and brain of unborn rats.
“Particles can break the barrier of pregnant mammals – the placenta. We have to find out exactly how plastic overcomes it. In addition, it is necessary to establish the impact of microplastics on humans,” the scientists concluded.