The warmer the water, the higher the risk of getting millions of microplastic particles. But there are ways on how to minimize it.
Heads up to all parents that have a baby. New research suggests that mixing infant formula in a plastic bottle releases millions of microplastic particles, a startling discovery that continues to unfold.
In a recent issue of Nature on Oct. 19, researchers suggest that infants might be ingesting an average of 1.6 million unwanted microplastic particles on a daily basis. As reported by UPI, this happens when you mix infant formula from a heated plastic bottle.
Potential effects of microplastic on babies
The negative implications of microplastics on infants are yet to be discovered. According to Liwen Xiao, study researcher and assistant professor at Trinity College in Dublin for civil, structural, and environmental engineering: “There is still no data available.”
When plastic is torn down or worn out, they release micro and nanoparticles. These particles can be found on our food chain or through the direct release of particles from plastic, especially for food storage or packaging. This is suggested as background notes by researchers.
How tiny are the microplastic particles? It measures five millimeters or even smaller. While the nanoparticles are even smaller for one diameter micron.
The less we know, the higher the risk
Microplastics are contaminating tissue samples in some of the humans’ vital organs. This was presented earlier this year at the Annual Meeting of the American Chemical Society.
In a study conducted, researchers used 10 bottles, in which seven out of 10 of the bottles are widely used around the world for babies. What they have discovered is that the heat is relatively connected to the release of these microplastic particles.
A plastic bottle made of polypropylene can release up to 16.2 million microplastic particles (per liter of liquid). This takes place when you’re sterilized and when introduced to water with 158- degrees Fahrenheit.
In short, the warmer the water, the greater release of microplastic particles could take place. However, the effects of ingesting these unwanted particles are still unknown, according to researcher Philipp Schwabl of the Medical University of Vienna.
The danger of not knowing how this could impact our health is alarming and this is what John Boland, a co-researcher and chemistry professor from Trinity College Dublin, wants to imply on the possible impact on an infant’s health.
Minimizing the potential harm
However, researchers offer ways on how to reduce the risk of causing harm to these microplastics:
- Avoid re-heating infant formula in a plastic bottle.
- Prepare infant formula in a non-plastic container, then transfer to the bottle once cooled down.
- Avoid shaking infant formula in a plastic bottle.
- Let the bottle sit for a while to cool down after sterilization, then have it rinse trice before using.
Studies on these microplastics are continuing and according to Schwabl, he suggests avoiding heating food items in any plastic containers as much as possible.
Images used courtesy of The New York Times/YouTube Screenshot.