Bits of plastic have been detected in the faeces of people in Europe, Russia and Japan, according to research claiming to show for the first time the widespread presence of plastics in the human food chain. All eight volunteers in a small pilot study were found to have passed several types of plastic, with an average of 20 micro-particles per 10 grams of stool, researchers reported on Tuesday at a gastroenterology congress in Vienna. The scientists speculated that the tiny specks — ranging in size from 50 to 500 micrometres — may have been ingested via seafood, food wrapping, dust or plastic bottles. A human hair is roughly 50 to 100 micrometres in width. "In our laboratory, we were able to detect nine different types of plastics," said Bettina Liebmann, a researcher at the Federal Environment Agency, which analysed the samples. The two most common were polypropylene — found in bottle caps, rope and strapping — and polyethylene, present in drinking bottles and textile fibres. Togeth...

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