Alarming Findings | Are We Inhaling Nanoplastics & What About Our Food?

Washington (GGM) Analysis | January 31, 2022, by Noreen Wise, Founder & CEO of Gallant Gold Media, and author; Image Credit: AdobeStock

Nanoplastic is a recently discovered novel hazard that potentially undermines human health the same way it negatively impacts animal and wildlife health, resulting in infertility, inflammation and cancer. The possible nanoplastic toxicological threat for humans is quickly being propelled to the forefront of our minds, following targeted research on the alarming plastic crisis that has reached the farthest corners of the earth. 

Nanoplastics are so tiny they’re invisible to the human eye, and can travel in the air more than a thousand miles. They are easily inhaled, especially in cities, which is of major concern to scientists. In the Greenland ice core, scientists were shocked to find nanoplastics that dated as far back as 1965; 25% of these nanoplastics were from automobile tires, which further underscores the harm to those living in cities.

In the Swiss Alps, scientists found nanoplastics that they determined traveled through the air from cities approximately 200 kilometers (124 miles) away. Of the more than 43 trillion nanoplastic particles that scientists calculated land in Switzerland each year, some came from as far away as the Atlantic Ocean 2000 km (1,240 miles) away.

The difference between nanoplastics and microplastics is significant and the two words should not be interchanged. 

  • Microplastics – small plastic bits less than 5 mm (0.2 inches in diameter) 
  • Nanoplastics – infinitesimal specs of plastic with diameters less than 0.001 mm

Recent findings by the American Chemical Society (ACS) identified plastic packaging as the main source of the microplastics found in our food, bottled water, soda, and salt. “However, a thorough discussion of this topic is not possible when the notions of both microplastics and nanoplastics are combined. To date, there are no methods available to analyze nanoplastics in food, and only the presence of microplastics has been demonstrated through the methods available,” asserted the authors of the report, Alexandra tee Halle and Jean Francois Ghiglione.

“[Our] viewpoint highlights the complex environmental behavior and fate of nanoplastics that are distinct from microplastic particles. We advocate that the environmental fate and behavior of different plastic particle sizes are so unique, they should not be described together but researched and described independently.”

American Chemical Society

Researchers have determined that we eat approximately 100 bits of microplastic with every meal, which amounts to 1 credit card per week and 52 credit cards a year. Considering the reality that plastic contains toxic chemicals, it’s natural to instinctively choose to avoid food packaged in plastic in the likelihood microplastics and nanoplastics are proven conclusively to be toxic.

From the UNEP Published Scientific Assessment of Plastic Pollution:

“As plastics break down they transfer microplastics, synthetic and cellulosic microfibres, toxic chemicals, metals and micropollutants into waters, sediments, and eventually marine food chains. For humans, this can lead to hormonal changes, developmental disorders, reproductive abnormalities and cancer. Whenever marine species are people’s main source of food, serious threats are posted by human uptake of microplastics via seafood. Plastics are also ingested through drinks and even common salt; they penetrate the skin and are inhaled when suspended in the air. Mental health may be affected by the knowledge that sea turtles, whales, dolphins and many seabirds – which have cultural importance for various communities – are at risk.”

At the ACS Fall 2020 Virtual Meeting & Expo during Covid, there were several graduate student presenters from the lab of Rolf Halden, PhD, at Arizona State University. Their names are Charles Rolsky and Varun Kelkar.

“You can find plastics contaminating the environment at virtually every location on the globe, and in a few short decades, we’ve gone from seeing plastic as a wonderful benefit to considering it a threat…There’s evidence that plastic is making its way into our bodies, but very few studies have looked for it there.”

Charles Rolsky, August 17, 2020

Research into whether or not nanoplastics undermines the health and well-being of animal and wildlife found that nanoplastic exposure resulted in cancer, inflammation and infertility in the species tested. At the time of the presentation to the American Chemical Society, Rolsky and Kelkar had discovered that nonoplastics do travel through our human GI tracks. They then speculated about whether nanoplastics accumulated in our organs.

To study this, Rolsky and Kelkar collaborated with Diego Mastroeni, PhD. They examined 47 samples from the four organs most likely to be exposed to infinitesimal plastic particles— lungs, kidney, spleen and liver — and created a testing procedure with Raman spectrometry, as well as an online computer program using a standardized format so that researchers everywhere could report their results. Dr. Halden remarked that “this shared resource will help build a plastic exposure database so that we can compare exposures in organs and groups of people over time and geographic space.”

These new findings about nanoplastic toxins in the air are of particular importance with global warming now at 1.2ºC. Rain bombs, flooding, hurricanes, and tornadoes are consistently spreading the dangerous chemicals found in lawn fertilizers, hazardous waste sites, chemical plants, and superfund sites. In the heat, these chemicals vaporize and we inhale them regularly. And now we learn that we have invisible nanoplastics to worry about, too. 

Let’s take these new warnings very seriously. I plan to wear my face mask outdoors all the time from now on, especially in cities.  

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“This is not about saving our planet, it’s about saving ourselves…The truth is, with or without us, the natural world will rebuild.”
—Sir David Attenborough, A Life On Our Planet
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Scott Pruitt Re-Invented, or is He? | Perspective

perspectiveOn Friday, February 2, 2018, the day of the release of the infamous Nunes Memo, and the intense media coverage that followed, New York Times The Daily veered off media course and featured a noteworthy interview with EPA Director Scott Pruitt. Pruitt struggled to answer Barbaro’s direct questions. It’s an amazing interview, well worth a listen.

Interestingly, Senator Markey (D-MA), sent a harsh letter to Scott Pruitt on January 18, 2018, rebuking him and demanding that he answer 41 vital questions and reply by January 24th. Further, Markey requested that Pruitt come in person to be interviewed be the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) on January 30, 2018.

Pruitt’s attempt to dismantle all of Obama’s environmental protection policies, and erase the scientific research at the EPA proving Climate Change, have been met with lawsuits. Dozens and dozens of lawsuits in 2017. The aggressive de-reguations agenda of Pruitt’s is now clogging the courts.

Perhaps Scott Pruitt has begun feeling the heat after decimating the programs that protect the environment and safeguard public health, and continuing his “Climate Change denier” position even after the catastrophic hurricane season of 2017. He seemingly became “inspired” after his meeting with Senator Markey and the Senate EPW Committee on January 30th, aired on C-SPAN …he announced today Monday February 5, 2018 that he invited Cabinet members to a meeting on February 15, 2018 to strategize about updating America’s water infrastructure.

The Washington Examiner outlined: “Lead poisoning is an insidious menace that robs our children of their intellect and their future,” Pruitt said in the letter, addressed to Cabinet heads including HHS Secretary Alex Azar, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Ben Carson, secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and others.

Just 8 weeks ago, before the tax overhaul,  Pruitt testified in Congress that he was concerned about the cost to replace the infrastructure – approximately $30 billion –  for “7 million to 11 million lines.” This seems to imply he’d never be able to follow-through with whatever strategy the Cabinet comes up with for eliminating lead from water during their meeting on February 15th.

Replacing 11 million lead pipe lines for $30 billion, which would drastically reduce lead poisoning, if not eliminate it all together, is less than half the cost of the $70 billion border wall that Trump is determined to install. We can’t forget that the tax overhaul is expected to generate a tax shortage of $1.5 trillion, which will likely stall each and every infrastructure program.

CNN stated that in 2016 Pruitt was supporting Jeb Bush, and commented about Trump: “I think he’s an empty vessel when it comes to things like the Constitution and rule of law,” Pruitt said on the “Exploring Energy” radio show on February 11. “I’m very concerned that perhaps if he’s in the White House, that there may be a very blunt instrument as the voice of the Constitution.” 

But in 2017, Pruitt claimed: “After meeting him, and now having the honor of working for him, it is abundantly clear that President Trump is the most consequential leader of our time,” Pruitt said. “No one has done more to advance the rule of law than President Trump. The President has liberated our country from the political class and given America back to the people.”

So this zig-zag, is Scott Pruitt, Director of the EPA. Someone to keep an eye on as long as he’s in office. “America the Beautiful,” national tourism, is a $1.5 trillion dollar industry. Poisoning our water and air for profit, chopping off breathtaking mountaintops to appease the Coal Industry, smashing monuments out West (Zinke), is a destruction campaign.

It’s encouraging to see the new Scott Pruitt. It took an army to get Director Pruitt to this fresh start. It will likely take an army to ensure he follows through. Apparently, pressure is a great motivator for Pruitt. But there’s a famous adage to keep in mind: “A man convinced beyond his will is of the same impression still.”


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