You may have heard about microplastics, but did you realize there are also nanoplastics?

But what are they, and why are they so dangerous? Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about nanoplastic pollution.

What is a microplastic?

Microplastics are particularly minute bits of plastic debris that form due to the dumping and breakdown of consumer and industrial waste.

To be called a microplastic, the material must be less than 5mm long, whether created intentionally or due to a larger piece of plastic breaking away.

Microplastics are a contaminant, and their toxic composition is hazardous to human and animal health. Some microplastics contain carcinogenic or mutagenic compounds related to human cancer and DNA damage.

Plastic degrades extremely slowly (sometimes over hundreds of thousands of years), making microplastics challenging to dispose of once discovered. 

What are nanoplastics?

The significant distinction between nanoplastics and microplastics is the size of the particle.

Nanoplastics are tiny, nearly invisible bits of plastic that are produced as a result of the disposal of plastic products. They are typically considered in terms of trash and pollution, particularly in the marine environment, where they are most ubiquitous.

Micro and nano plastics are utilized as abrasive agents for exfoliation in personal care products such as face and body washes and masks, and they are also created as cheap filler material. Most nanoplastics, on the other hand, are the product of the slow fragmentation of plastic trash in the environment.

When plastic is mishandled and exposed to sunlight, wind, or water, it degrades, and micro or nanoplastics form.

Because these particles are so light and because of their widespread detection, scientists believe nanoplastics have been dispersed around the world in part by air currents. Early research indicates that they may also be emitted by secondary sources such as urban surfaces and soils.

Nanoplastics can also quickly enter the food chain. When a plastic object, such as a fishing net, degrades in fish-inhabited oceans and lakes, the particles are consumed by the organisms. Many of us then eat fish or seafood, which means we swallow microplastics from the sea when we eat.

Newer data reveals that people are inhaling nanoplastics – it is estimated that humans are inhaling up to 10,000 nanoplastics daily.

Why are nanoplastics dangerous?

Nanoplastics, when released into the environment, have a devastating influence on every ecosystem component.

Plastics are composed of numerous complex compounds, which are advantageous for their malleability but detrimental to human and animal health.

The most prevalent type of microplastic found in the environment is polyethylene, which is used in plastic bags and packaging. However, PET, which is used in plastic bottles, is also frequently observed.

Early human toxicological studies have shown that nanoplastics harm cell survival. Ingestion of microplastics has been proven in studies on marine life to alter growth and delay development. There have also been reports of malformations and subcellular alterations.

Avoiding nano plastics

It is impossible to eliminate micro and nano plastics due to their small size and prevalence in most ordinary objects. However, you may choose your products and foods wisely to reduce your contribution to nano plastic pollution while safeguarding your health.

  • Using a water filter
  • Buy more organic clothing
  • Avoid warming food in plastic 

Are you considering sustainably recycling commercial waste in your business? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We look forward to assisting the environment as well as your company.

Written by ovpadmin