Researchers at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland found that plastic polypropylene baby bottles release large quantities of microplastic particles. Babies fed from such bottles ingest over one million such microplastics through their food every day. The research results were recently presented in the renowned journal “Nature Foods”.
Baby bottles are usually well checked to see whether they release harmful substances. However, the release of microplastics – i.e. tiny plastic particles that detach from the bottles and thus enter the food – is not currently being adequately monitored. A research team from Ireland has now shown that plastic baby bottles release particularly large amounts of microplastics. The consequences for the health of the babies are not clear.
Large amounts of microplastics are released during the preparation of baby food in polypropylene baby bottles. The Irish working group has demonstrated a strong relationship between heating of the bottles and the release of large quantities of microparticles. An even greater release occurs when the bottles are sterilized by heating.
According to the research results, the polypropylene bottles release 0.6 million micro plastic particles per liter capacity at a temperature of 25 degrees Celsius. If the temperature of the bottle rises to 95 degrees Celsius, for example during sterilization, the release increases to 55 million particles per liter capacity.
Contamination is mainly caused by heating
The researchers stress that the results are transferable to similar plastic containers made of polypropylene, such as lunch boxes, plastic drinking cups or kettles made of polypropylene.
The researchers also developed a concept that can significantly reduce the release of microplastic particles. The following measures are recommended:
“Our study shows that the daily use of plastic products is an important source of microplastics release, which means that the routes of exposure are much closer to us than previously thought,” adds Professor Liwen Xiao. It is urgent to start assessing the health effects of microplastics. (vb)
High absorption of microplastic over polypropylene
“When we saw these results in the laboratory, we immediately recognized the potential effects they could have,” explains Professor John Boland from the research team. “The last thing we want to do is unduly alarm parents, especially if we don’t have enough information about the possible effects of microplasty on the health of young children,” Boland continues. However, the results emphasize that it is high time to learn more about the possible consequences.
Polypropylene is one of the world’s most widely produced plastics for food preparation and storage. Despite its widespread use and the known potential for microplastics release, the consequences for health and the environment are largely unknown. The researchers emphasize that there is increasing evidence that micro- and nanoplastics are being released into our food and water sources.
WashingtonNewsday Health and Wellness.