There’s a new danger in the air around us that experts have likened to asbestos or tobacco.
Tiny microplastic particles are filling our homes and, according to a new study, we’re breathing in far more than we originally thought.
A pioneering study used highly tech equipment to count particles less than 10 microns in size in the average home.
It found we’re breathing in around 7,000 of these particles – just a tenth of the width of a human hair – every day.
Professor Anoop Chauhan, a respiratory specialist with Portsmouth Hospitals Trust, explained the dangers of breathing in microplastics.
‘Having these particles in your body can cause stress and changes in metabolism, it can affect immunity, the ability to fight infections, it can affect your reproductive capacity and potentially it could be carcinogenic – causing cancer,’ he said.
Part of the danger of breathing these in is that they don’t break down.
And it doesn’t matter which room of the house you’re in, they get everywhere.
Dr Fay Couceiro, an environmental pollution expert who led the study, took samples from the home of Good Morning Britain reporter Michelle Morrison in Beckenham, south-east London.
The samples were collected on October 12, alongside Michelle’s eight-year-old daughter Millie and five-year-old son Benji.
Mrs Morrison found three quarters of her wardrobe contained plastics such as polyester and nylon. To simulate typical children’s activity, her son and daughter were asked to playfight with soft toys.
The researchers estimated the family were likely to each breathe in between 2,000 and 7,000 microplastics a day.
Dr. Couceiro said: ‘I am astonished by the breathable levels of microplastics in each of our homes and more work on this absolutely must be done.’
Over a year ago, Metro.co.uk reported on the dangers of microplastic inhalation and experts told us we ‘don’t have time to waste’.
The tiny fragments come from various plastic objects in everyday life – including curtains, carpets, rubber fragments from tyres and numerous other synthetic items – and could be linked to numerous health issues, particularly around the lungs.
Dr Matthew Cole, one of the academics involved, explained that the particles ‘might cause inflammation or tissue damage’, adding that they could also pose an increased risk for people with underlying respiratory problems.