AMHERST, Mass. Scientists from Nanjing University and the University of Massachusetts Amherst in China used a new microspectroscopic technique to determine that steam disinfection of silicone baby bottle nipples results in the exposure of babies and their environment to microplastic and nanoplastic particles.
Although the health and environmental effects of these very fine particles remain unknown, microplastic pollution is becoming a growing concern worldwide. This new source of microplastic pollution was discovered by the researchers.
Babies are more sensitive than microplastics (5 mm) to any contaminants. Baoshan XingProfessor of soil and environmental chemistry and director at the UMass Amherst Stockbridge School of AgricultureCo-author of the research with the co-corresponding author, published in the high impact journal. Nature Nanotechnology. These tiny particles are not detectable by conventional techniques. The physiological effect is greater for smaller particles.
Xing collaborated on the lead author Yu Su, and co-corresponding author Rong Ji. Both are environmental scientists at Nanjing Universitys. School of the EnvironmentAs well as other colleagues from China.
In the past, silicone rubber was thought to be a thermally stable material. However, we discovered that it ages after repeated moist heat disinfections. The environment is a major source for microplastics due to the decomposition and aging of plastics. We have shown that silicone rubber can even be decomposed using moist heating.
Previous research by Xing who has been named as an Annual listOne of the most cited researchers in the world every year since 2014, China’s colleagues showed that nanoplastics, which are widely found in surface waters and oceans, are also internalized by plants. reduce lipid digestionSimulated human gastrointestinal system.
Traditional techniques cannot detect particles smaller than 20 micrometers. This is approximately half the thickness of a human hair. Nanjing University researchers examined rubber nipples with optical photothermal imaging (O-PTIR), a new technique that can analyze the materials composition and morphology.
The microspectroscope found numerous flake-shaped or oil-film-shaped nano- and microplastics as small at 0.6 micrometers or 600 nanometers in the water of steam-disinfected rubber nibles. The technique also showed submicrometer-resolved steam etching on and chemical modification of the nipple surface.
The research paper stated that a baby can ingest up to 0.66 million micro-sized plastics (MPs), by the time he is one year old. Global MP emission from teat disinfection could be as high as 5.2 1113 particles per year.
Xing and colleagues point out that similar silicone-rubbed-based consumer products, including bakeware and sealing rings in cups and cooking appliances, are also likely to produce micro- and nanoplastic particles when heated at or above 100 degrees C. They will continue their research into the release of particles into the environment from various plastic objects.
Xing says that we have identified a significant new source for microplastics in the environment. Some plastics get into the sewer system. They can get into waterways and landfills. They live for a very long time in the environment, as they don’t readily decompose.
Rong Ji of Nanjing University adds that the behavior of these silicon rubber-derived nano- and microplastics in the environment is unclear. Further research is needed in order to understand the potential risks they pose to humans and the environment.