Synopsis by Thea Edwards
Research shows for the first time that plastic nanoparticles can cross the human placenta, possibly exposing the developing fetus to the tiny materials that are increasingly used in medicines, vaccines and personal care products.
Plastic nanoparticles can quickly traverse the human placenta from the mother's side to the developing fetus' side, according to new laboratory research that confirms prior findings from animal studies.
The results confirm that smaller sizes of the manufactured materials are able to cross the placenta at a time toward the end of pregnancy when the membrane barrier between mom and fetus is thinner. The growing brain and other organs may be exposed to the particles, for which health effects are unknown. Researchers suggest more research on the toxic effects of nanoparticles is needed to understand if the fetus is at risk.
Source: Wick, P, A Malek, P Manser, D Meili, X Maeder-Althaus, L Diener, P Diener, A Zisch, H Krug and U von Mandach. 2010. Barrier capacity of human placenta for nanosized materials. Environmental Health Perspectives 118(3): 432-436.
a target="_blank" href="http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/newscience/plastic-nanoparticles-can-cross-placenta">Plastic Nanoparticles can move from mom to baby through placenta.
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