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Microplastics found in carotid artery plaques linked to heart disease and death

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While evidence of microplastics and nanoplastics in the human body is well-established and growing, research that can help us understand the actual effects of these plastic particles on our health is just getting underway. Much more research is needed to understand the full range of consequences of plastic particles in our bodies and their impacts on our health.

One of the first studies attempting to understand such impacts assessed potential links between the presence of microplastics in carotid artery plaques of patients undergoing heart surgery and heart disease. Scientists found polyethylene (PE) particles in the hearts of more than 58% of the 257 patients studied and followed up with. More than 12% of patients had polyvinyl chloride (PVC) particles in their arterial plaques. The patients with microplastics detected in their plaques also showed signs of inflammation in their bodies, and were much more likely to go on to experience heart attack, stroke, and death from any cause compared to patients without evidence of microplastics traveling to their hearts.

Background: Microplastics and nanoplastics (MNPs) are emerging as a potential risk factor for cardiovascular disease in preclinical studies. Direct evidence that this risk extends to humans is lacking.

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