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Is the average microplastic more or less toxic (or bioaccumulatable/less easily cleared) than the average wood microparticle? (or cotton/plant/animal fur microparticle)?

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Besides polymers, it is highly recommended to include the spectra of typical matrix components like quartz sand, cellulose, wood, seaweeds, fish parts, wool, animal fur, proteins, human hair, and skin particles in the library in order to avoid misidentifications



A major disadvantage of Raman spectroscopy, especially by the analysis of MPs in environmental samples, is the interference by fluorescence which can be induced by inorganic (e.g., clay minerals, dust particles), organic (e.g., humic substances), and (micro)biological impurities in the matrix (15,256,257) as well as some additives (pigments). (257,258) Therefore, the removal of inorganic and organic nonplastic particles (198,259−261) (by density separation (5,193,194) and chemical (5,195,196) or enzymatic (197) digestion) is often required before the Raman analysis. The matrix removal will also significantly increase the plastic/nonplastic particle ratio and, hence, improve the representativity and statistical certainty of the MP analysis. Additionally, agglomeration and overlapping of MP with natural particles, leading to over- or underestimation of particle size and number, can be minimized






Yearly estimates were not determined for wooden boards, though the researchers reported that these items sloughed off 4 to 22 times more microparticles than plastic ones in different tests.


But even though many microparticles formed, the researchers found that polyethylene microplastics and wood microparticles released when chopping carrots didn’t appear to significantly change mouse cells’ viability in lab tests. While plastic cutting boards are easy to clean, the researchers conclude that other options could be used to reduce potential microplastic contamination in foods.





More recently, a study with a lower detection limit of 0.8 µm reported a MP fiber concentration of about 5600 p m-3 at human respiratory height. More than 80% of all detected airborne particles were smaller than 20 µm (Li et al., 2020). Consequently, assuming an average breathing volume of 6 l min-1, humans might be exposed to more than 48,000 MP p d-1 by inhalation. These findings reinforce the concerns about airborne MP contamination raised by earlier studies (Prata, 2018, Vianello et al., 2019). Furthermore, ingestion of airborne MP mainly occurs due to the fallout of atmospheric MP during meal preparation and consumption. Approximately, humans consume 40 – 190 p d-1 in this way (Catarino et al., 2018).

In addition, certain types of microparticles which are often perceived as biodegradable, such as cellulose-based particles like cotton or wood dust (2.4 Wood dust, 2.5 Cotton dust), can be very bio-persistent inside mammalian organisms (Harper et al., 2002, Eriksson et al., 1990



(this is comparison with MICROPARTICLES - eg wood dust/cotton dust, for which humans have been exposed to prior to the microplastic influx). Even living near a cat guarantees your cells will accumulate some cat hairs.

Edited by InquilineKea
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  • InquilineKea changed the title to Is the average microplastic more or less toxic (or bioaccumulatable/less easily cleared) than the average wood microparticle? (or cotton/plant/animal fur microparticle)?

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