New research led by Nienke Vrisekoop from the University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands, is reported to have found that immune cells that come into contact with microplastics die approximately three times more quickly than those that do not. 20% of immune cells in laboratory cultures without microplastics were observed to die within 24 hours. However, when the cells encountered microplastics, 60% of them died within the same time period. This death rate is reported as being “far in excess of when immune cells encounter and engulf most bacteria or foreign bodies.” Vrieskoop commented that “these results raise serious questions about what microplastics are doing to our immune health. Urgent further research is needed to paint as full a picture as possible.”

The findings were presented on October 3, 2019 in Amsterdam at the Plastic Health Summit (FPF reported).

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Shahrzad Pourriahi (October 3, 2019). “Study highlights health hazards from microplastics.” Plastics News

Abigail Spink (October 3, 2019). “New evidence points to microplastics’ toxic impact on the human body.” Geographical