A new study on plastic pollution termed as ‘human biomonitoring’ study by the German Environment Ministry and the Robert Koch Institute has concluded that 97 % of blood and urine samples collected from approximately 2,500 children between the ages of three and 17 presented toxic levels of plastic byproducts.
The findings are worrying as they indicate that children are exposed to countless sources of plastics, from toys to furniture, especially in the early ages of development.
Marike Kolossa-Gehring, the co-author of the study and toxicologist at the German Environment Ministry, told Der Speigel, “Our study clearly shows that increasingly used plastic ingredients also occur more frequently inside the body. Most troubling is the fact that the youngest children, the most sensitive group, are affected the most.”
Researchers examined samples for traces of 15 plastic byproducts including some that don’t have existing health-critical limits in Germany according to Der Spiegel. Two of the byproducts that have standing limits imposed by the German government, were exceeded in the samples examined by the researchers.
One particular chemical identified in young subjects is perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) that are often used in the manufacturing of outdoor clothing and non-stick pans. It was found to be carcinogenic in animal trials resulting in the EU forcing a total ban on the substance with effect from 2020.
The complete results are yet to be published and the researchers plan to now examine how exactly these byproducts enter the human body.