Babies drinking formula may swallow high levels of harmful plastic - Trinity College Dublin study finds
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Babies drinking formula may swallow high levels of harmful plastic - Trinity College Dublin study finds

A STUDY by Trinity College Dublin has found that babies being fed formula could be ingesting high levels of dangerous microplastics.

The harmful plastics are released from infant feeding bottles during formula preparation and sterilisation, according to new research.

It's thought that babies that use this method to feed are likely to ingest a large amount of these microplastics.

Researchers at Trinity College found that around the world, babies consume on average 1,580,000 plastic particles per day while drinking from polypropylene bottles.

But babies across Europe ingest the highest amount on average, consuming 2,610,000 particles per day, as per Dublin Live.

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Polypropylene is one of the most commonly produced plastics in the world for food preparation and storage, and is used in products such as Tupperware and lunch boxes.

But the potential dangers caused by polypropylene are only now being realised, and scientists say there is an "urgent need" to assess the issue, particularly for infants.

The Trinity College team found that polypropylene infant feeding bottles can release up to 16 million microplastics and trillions of smaller nanoplastics per litre, while sterilisation and exposure to high temperature water significantly increases the amount of plastic released.

Professor John Boland said his team were "absolutely gobsmacked" at the number of microplastics produced by the baby bottles.

"A study last year by the World Health Organization estimated adults would consume between 300 and 600 microplastics a day - our average values were on the order of a million or millions," he said.

"The last thing we want is to unduly alarm parents, particularly when we don't have sufficient information on the potential consequences of microplastics on infant health.

"We are calling on policy makers, however, to reassess the current guidelines for formula preparation when using plastic infant feeding bottles.

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"Crucially, we have found that it is possible to mitigate the risk of ingesting microplastics by changing practices around sterilisation and formula preparation."