Detection of microplastics in the human penis

In a small study, four out of five men being treated for erectile dysfunction were found to have microplastics in their penis tissue. Of seven different plastics detected, the most common types of plastics included polyethylene terepthalate (PET) and polypropylene (PP). Experts say the presence of microplastics in the penis and body may potentially be linked to erectile dysfunction in men, and that more research is needed.

Abstract: The proliferation of microplastics (MPs) represents a burgeoning environmental and health crisis. Measuring less than 5 mm in diameter, MPs have infiltrated atmospheric, freshwater, and terrestrial ecosystems, penetrating commonplace consumables like seafood, sea salt, and bottled beverages. Their size and surface area render them susceptible to chemical interactions with physiological fluids and tissues, raising bioaccumulation and toxicity concerns. Human exposure to MPs occurs through ingestion, inhalation, and dermal contact. To date, there is no direct evidence identifying MPs in penile tissue. The objective of this study was to assess for potential aggregation of MPs in penile tissue. Tissue samples were extracted from six individuals who underwent surgery for a multi-component inflatable penile prosthesis (IPP). Samples were obtained from the corpora using Adson forceps before corporotomy dilation and device implantation and placed into cleaned glassware. A control sample was collected and stored in a McKesson specimen plastic container. The tissue fractions were analyzed using the Agilent 8700 Laser Direct Infrared (LDIR) Chemical Imaging System (Agilent Technologies. Moreover, the morphology of the particles was investigated by a Zeiss Merlin Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), complementing the detection range of LDIR to below 20 µm. MPs via LDIR were identified in 80% of the samples, ranging in size from 20–500 µm. Smaller particles down to 2 µm were detected via SEM. Seven types of MPs were found in the penile tissue, with polyethylene terephthalate (47.8%) and polypropylene (34.7%) being the most prevalent. The detection of MPs in penile tissue raises inquiries on the ramifications of environmental pollutants on sexual health. Our research adds a key dimension to the discussion on man-made pollutants, focusing on MPs in the male reproductive system.

Global production of plastic has resulted in the massive release of nano- and micro-plastics. Microplastics have found their way into humans, and scientists are developing a new methods to detect them. In one study, scientists found microplastics present in all 62 placentas tested from people who had recently given birth. They found various types of plastics, including polyethylene, PVC, and nylon.

The team’s methodology included saponification and ultracentrifugation to extract solid material from human placental tissue samples. They used highly specific and quantitative analysis of plastic with pyrolysis-gas chromatography and mass spectroscopy (Py-GC-MS). Placenta tissues were analyzed with fluorescence microscopy and automated particle count, which showed presence of micro-sized particles but not nano sized particles. Compared to other methodologies and tools, PY-GC-MS detected microplastics in all placenta samples.

The data that Py-GC-MS shows advancements in unbiased quantitative resolution and its application to detect microplastics in human placenta tissue samples. This method, with clinical data, could be essential to understanding the potential impacts of microplastics on pregnancy outcomes.

Scientists review pregnant peoples’ exposure to chemicals and the effects on their health, finding that pregnancy can heighten a person’s susceptibility to environmental chemicals and health risks.

Abstract: Pregnancy is a unique period when biological changes can increase sensitivity to chemical exposures. Pregnant women are exposed to multiple environmental chemicals via air, food, water, and consumer products, including flame retardants, plasticizers, and pesticides. Lead exposure increases risk of pregnancy-induced hypertensive disorders, although women’s health risks are poorly characterized for most chemicals. Research on prenatal exposures has focused on fetal outcomes and less on maternal outcomes. We reviewed epidemiologic literature on chemical exposures during pregnancy and three maternal outcomes: preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and breast cancer. We found that pregnancy can heighten susceptibility to environmental chemicals and women’s health risks, although variations in study design and exposure assessment limited study comparability. Future research should include pregnancy as a critical period for women’s health. Incorporating biomarkers of exposure and effect, deliberate timing and method of measurement, and consistent adjustment of potential confounders would strengthen research on the exposome and women’s health.

Scientists find a “disturbing increase” in microplastics found in human placentas over the 15 year period from 2006 to 2021. They also observed hormone-disrupting and health-harming phthalates and bisphenol plastic-additive chemicals in the samples.

  • -In 2006, 6 of the 10 placentas contained microplastics.
  • -In 2013, microplastics were found in 9 of the 10 placentas.
  • -In 2021, researchers found microplastics in all 10 placentas.”

Abstract: Microplastics are created for commercial use, are shed from textiles, or result from the breakdown of larger plastic items. Recent reports have shown that microplastics accumulate in human tissues and may have adverse health consequences. Currently, there are no standardized environmental monitoring systems to track microplastic accumulation within human tissues. Using Raman spectroscopy, we investigated the temporal exposures to plastic pollution in Hawaiʻi and noted a significant increase in the accumulation of microplastics in discarded placentas over the past 15 years, with changes in the size and chemical composition of the polymers. These findings provide a rare insight into the vulnerability and sensitivity of Pacific Island residents to plastic pollution and illustrate how discarded human tissues can be used as an innovative environmental plastic pollution monitoring system.

A leading group of obstetricians and gynecologists bring attention to the urgent crises of climate change and the risks it poses to pregnant people, developing fetuses, and reproductive health. They shed light on the need for solutions and global cooperation to address the issue, especially fossil fuel production.

Abstract: Climate change is one of the major global health threats to the world’s population. It is brought on by global warming due in large part to increasing levels of greenhouse gases resulting from human activity, including burning fossil fuels (carbon dioxide), animal husbandry (methane from manure), industry emissions (ozone, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide), vehicle/factory exhaust, and chlorofluorocarbon aerosols that trap extra heat in the earth’s atmosphere. Resulting extremes of weather give rise to wildfires, air pollution, changes in ecology, and floods. These in turn result in displacement of populations, family disruption, violence, and major impacts on water quality and availability, food security, public health and economic infrastructures, and limited abilities for civil society to maintain citizen safety. Climate change also has direct impacts on human health and well-being. Particularly vulnerable populations are affected, including women, pregnant women, children, the disabled, and the elderly, who comprise the majority of the poor globally. Additionally, the effects of climate change disproportionally affect disadvantaged communities, including low income and communities of color, and lower-income countries that are at highest risk of adverse impacts when disasters occur due to inequitable distribution of resources and their socioeconomic status. The climate crisis is tilting the risk balance unfavorably for women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights as well as newborn and child health. Obstetrician/gynecologists have the unique opportunity to raise awareness, educate, and advocate for mitigation strategies to reverse climate change affecting our patients and their families. This article puts climate change in the context of women’s reproductive health as a public health issue, a social justice issue, a human rights issue, an economic issue, a political issue, and a gender issue that needs our attention now for the health and well-being of this and future generations. FIGO joins a broad coalition of international researchers and the medical community in stating that the current climate crisis presents an imminent health risk to pregnant people, developing fetuses, and reproductive health, and recognizing that we need society-wide solutions, government policies, and global cooperation to address and reduce contributors, including fossil fuel production, to climate change.

Fossil fuels contribute to climate change and petrochemicals, both of which increase maternal and child disease. Reducing fossil fuels can reap a double benefit for climate change and improved health. Health experts weigh in.