June 25, 2024

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Takeout Containers Release 2 Billion Microplastics in 3-Minute Microwave Heat

Takeout Containers Release 2 Billion Microplastics in 3-Minute Microwave Heat



Takeout Containers Release 2 Billion Microplastics in 3-Minute Microwave Heat.

Plastic Takeout Boxes Release 2 Billion Microplastic Particles in Just 3 Minutes of Microwave Heating.

Microplastics, defined as tiny plastic particles less than 5 millimeters in length, are generated from the breakdown of various plastic products such as bags, bottles, and packaging materials.

Their presence has raised significant concerns as they can infiltrate water bodies, soil, and air, eventually entering the food chain and posing adverse health effects on humans.

Recently, researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln published a study titled “Assessing the Release of Microplastics and Nanoplastics from Plastic Containers and Reusable Food Pouches: Implications for Human Health” in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

The study revealed that microwave heating, as opposed to refrigeration or room temperature storage, led to the highest release of microplastics and nanoplastics into food. In just 3 minutes, every square centimeter of plastic released over 2.1 billion nanoplastics and 4.22 million microplastics.

 

Plastic Takeout Boxes Release 2 Billion Microplastic Particles in Just 3 Minutes of Microwave Heating.

 

In their research, the scientists conducted experiments using two baby food containers made of polypropylene and a bag made of polyethylene, both of which are FDA-approved plastics.

They simulated food using deionized water and 3% acetic acid and analyzed the release of microplastics and nanoplastics from these plastic containers and food pouches in different scenarios.

 

Plastic Takeout Boxes Release 2 Billion Microplastic Particles in Just 3 Minutes of Microwave Heating.

 

The study found that the highest release of microplastics occurred during microwave heating, surpassing refrigeration, room temperature, and high-temperature storage conditions.

Specifically, each square centimeter of polypropylene container released 425,000 microplastics and 169 million nanoplastics, while each square centimeter of polyethylene container released 4.22 million microplastics and 2.1 billion nanoplastics.

 

Plastic Takeout Boxes Release 2 Billion Microplastic Particles in Just 3 Minutes of Microwave Heating.

 

Researchers explained that the high release of plastic particles during microwave heating is due to concurrent processes of hydrolysis, thermal degradation, and UV degradation. Microwave electromagnetic waves penetrate the plastic material, heating the interior of the container, and high food temperatures further escalate the release of microplastics and nanoplastics from plastic containers.

Furthermore, the study found that heating water or dairy products in polypropylene and polyethylene containers in the microwave generated the highest concentrations of microplastics.

Finally, the researchers conducted an in vitro experiment, cultivating human embryonic kidney cells in a solution containing microplastics at a concentration of 1000 μg/mL.

After 72 hours, only 23% of the cells exposed to high concentrations of microplastics were able to survive.

 

 

While our kidneys are not exposed to such concentrations, this experiment provides insight into the potential toxicity of these microplastics and nanoplastics.

 

 

 

Microplastics Invade the Human Heart

Recently, a study titled “Detection of Various Microplastics in Patients Undergoing Cardiac Surgery” was published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology by researchers including Yang Xiubin and Hua Kun from Beijing Anzhen Hospital, Capital Medical University.

The study revealed that microplastics have already invaded the human heart, as microplastics were discovered in the heart tissues of patients undergoing cardiac surgery.

 

Plastic Takeout Boxes Release 2 Billion Microplastic Particles in Just 3 Minutes of Microwave Heating.

 

The researchers collected heart tissue samples from 15 individuals undergoing cardiac surgery, along with blood samples from half of the participants before and after surgery. They analyzed the samples for microplastics using laser direct infrared imaging.

In the tissue samples, the researchers identified eight types of microplastic particles ranging in size from 20 to 500 micrometers, including polyethylene terephthalate, polyvinyl chloride, and polymethyl methacrylate, among others.

In the blood samples, plastic particles were also detected, with the average size of microplastics decreasing after surgery, but the variety increasing. This suggests that microplastics may be inadvertently introduced during surgical procedures.

 

 

 

 

References:

1. [Link to the first study](https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.3c01942)

2. [Link to the second study](https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.2c07179)

Plastic Takeout Boxes Release 2 Billion Microplastic Particles in Just 3 Minutes of Microwave Heating.

(source:internet, reference only)


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