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Microplastics found in penises – how dangerous they are

Microplastics found in penises – how dangerous they are
Microplastics found in penises – how dangerous they are

Whether in the soil, water or air – microplastics are everywhere. The tiny plastic particles have also been found in the human body, and now even in penises. How harmful is that?

“Plastic found in penis” – a headline that sounds like a bizarre sex accident. But the plastic particles that researchers are now reporting on are deposits of microplastics in the body. These are tiny particles that have come off plastic products such as bottles and bags. These microscopic plastic particles have now been found in penises for the first time. The samples were taken from five men during operations for penile implants. How did the plastic get into the penises?

Plastic does not rot, but over time products can be “ground down” to become smaller and smaller. So-called microplastics are created, which accumulate in the environment in various ways. For example, with every wash cycle, plastic particles are released from clothing and end up in sewage treatment plants via wastewater. Microplastics are found everywhere in the environment, in the earth, in the sea, in the air, even . The problem: There is increasing evidence that the tiny particles, which are between 5 millimeters and 1000 nanometers in size, can also accumulate in people.

Microplastics: health hazard or harmless?

Researchers from Amsterdam had already found evidence of microplastics in humans in 2022. Based on the plastics, they were able to identify plastic bottles, food packaging and plastic bags as sources of microplastics, among others. Now US researchers have followed up with their microplastic findings in penises. Whether and, if so, what effects the plastic particles have on the body has not yet been sufficiently researched. Even though the World Health Organization has given the all-clear in a study. Particles larger than 150 micrometers are not absorbed by the human body, and smaller plastic particles can be excreted again. An assessment that also met with criticism in the research world: “Microplastic particles are absorbed by organisms. The smaller a particle is, the greater the likelihood that it will pass from the digestive tract or lungs into the adjacent tissue.”

Some researchers are alarmed by the microplastics findings. They suspect that microplastics in the body could be harmful to health. One theory: the plastic particles could accumulate in organs or immune cells. There are also fears that microplastics could increase the risk of cancer and inflammation, for example in the intestines. Some studies also indicate that particles could overcome the blood-brain barrier. The blood-brain barrier is a kind of natural protective barrier that protects the brain from harmful substances. Clear evidence for such theories is lacking so far. This even criticizes the methods of the studies, saying that the results should be viewed with particular caution.

Little is known about the effects of microplastics in the body

The blood and penis studies can only provide initial indications. The studies were very small. The blood study included samples from just 22 subjects, while the penis study included five. Studies on long-term effects are lacking. Laforsch concluded: “It will certainly take a few more years before we know what effects microplastics can have on our bodies.” Microplastics are such tiny research objects, which makes research extremely difficult. He compares: “A nanoparticle is to the size of a football in much the same way as a football is to the size of our entire globe.”

Source: Stern

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