ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — More evidence in the research of scientists is coming to light about the presence of microplastics not just in the air we breathe and the water we drink, but now microplastic pollution is being found in our blood.

The technology being used to study microplastics, which are defined as bits of plastic that are five millimeters or less in size, or the size of a nickel or a ring, are vastly improving especially over the past few years. Now scientists are saying we’re not just finding evidence of this in the environment around us, but we’re finding them in us. 

University of Rochester Nano Lab Engineer Greg Madejski says, “We’re, you know, finding these small particles in our air, our water and our food because we use a lot of plastic.”

About four billion tons of plastic in the last 70 years to be exact. With a similar amount projected to be produced in another 70 years, there’s going to be a lot more plastic going into the environment, and a lot more exposure to people the way we’re currently using it in our daily lives.

“…plastics are basically exposed to light and heat and mechanical weathering so that they degrade and disintegrate into smaller and smaller plastics. They don’t just like disappear; they just keep getting smaller and smaller,” says Madejski.

Researchers are still trying to sort out both the short term and long-term impacts of what ingesting this plastic means for our health, but Madejski says being aware of the potential concerns is a valid start. 

“To say it’s a complicated situation is a bit of an understatement. There’s lots of interaction with the environment, how you would interact with that plastic pollution that might actually impact your own personal risk,” says Madejski.

If you’re looking for ways to be proactive, you can take steps such as filtering your water, cooking foods that are least likely to be contaminated with plastics and working with air filters to keep dust and particles at a minimum in your home.

As scientists continue to gather this evidence of microplastics in our bodies, a better understanding of its harmful effects will come to light.