Microplastics in Human Feces Linked to Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Concentration of fecal microplastics higher in individuals with IBD versus healthy participants

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WEDNESDAY, Dec. 22, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Microplastics (MPs) in human feces are associated with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), according to a study published online Dec. 22 in Environmental Science & Technology.

Zehua Yan, from Nanjing University in China, and colleagues analyzed the characteristics of MPs in the feces of patients with IBD and healthy people to examine the potential health impact of ingestion of MPs.

The researchers found that the fecal MP concentration was significantly higher in people with IBD versus healthy people (41.8 versus 28.0 items/g dm). Fifteen types of MPs were detected in feces, with poly(ethylene terephthalate) and polyamide the dominant types (22.3 to 34.0 percent and 8.9 to 12.4 percent, respectively); their primary shapes were sheets and fibers, respectively. There was evidence of a positive correlation between the concentration of fecal MPs and IBD severity.

"The fecal MP concentration is positively correlated with the severity of IBD, indicating that MP exposure may be associated with the occurrence and development of intestinal diseases or that diseases enhance the susceptibility and retention of MPs. The related mechanism merits further study," the authors write. "Our results indicate that the characteristics of fecal MPs can provide meaningful information for human health risk assessment of MPs."

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