Micro-Plastics – Unseen Threats to Human Health

Dr. MIchael Wald, DC, Board Certified Nutritionist, Dietitian

Microplastics are tiny plastic particles that are less than 5 millimeters in size and can come from a variety of sources, including plastic bags, bottles, and microbeads in personal care products. These small particles can enter the environment through wastewater treatment plants, storm drains, and agricultural runoff, and can persist in the environment for hundreds of years.

Once in the environment, microplastics can be ingested by a wide range of organisms, from tiny zooplankton to large fish and mammals. Ingesting microplastics can cause physical harm, such as blockages in the digestive tract, and can also leach chemicals into the body that can cause toxicity. Additionally, microplastics can accumulate in the tissues of organisms, providing a route for toxic chemicals to bioaccumulate and potentially causing long-term health effects.

Human beings are also exposed to microplastics through their diet, with studies showing that microplastics have been found in drinking water, seafood, and even in the air we breathe. Inhaling microplastics can cause respiratory problems, and ingesting them can lead to gastrointestinal issues and potentially cancer.

The impact of microplastics on the environment is also significant, as they can interfere with the reproduction and development of aquatic organisms, alter ecosystem structures and functions, and affect the global carbon cycle. Furthermore, microplastics can release harmful chemicals into the environment, such as bisphenol A (BPA) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which can have long-lasting effects on the environment and human health.

To address the issue of microplastics, it is important to reduce their use and release into the environment. This can be achieved through policies and practices that promote sustainable consumption and production, such as reducing plastic bag use, banning microbeads in personal care products, and increasing recycling rates. Additionally, research is needed to better understand the impact of microplastics on human health and the environment, and to develop effective methods for removing them from the environment.

In conclusion, microplastics are a serious problem in our environment and to the health of human beings and other creatures. It is important to take action to reduce their use and release into the environment, and to continue researching and developing effective solutions to this pressing issue.

Sources of Microplastics in the Environment

Microplastics can come from a variety of sources, including:

1. Plastic bags and bottles: When these items break down, they can release microplastics into the environment.

2. Synthetic clothing: When synthetic clothing is washed, microfibers can be released into the water system.

3. Cosmetics: Some cosmetics, such as face scrubs and toothpaste, contain microbeads that can enter the environment and contribute to microplastic pollution.

4. Plastic microbeads in consumer products: Microbeads are often used in personal care products like face wash, shampoo, and exfoliating scrubs.

5. Plastic debris: Large pieces of plastic debris, such as those found in oceans and waterways, can break down into microplastics over time.

Human Exposure to Plastics:

Humans can be exposed to microplastics through a variety of routes, including:

1. Ingestion: Microplastics can be ingested through food, water, and air.

2. Skin contact: Microplastics can be absorbed through the skin when people come into contact with contaminated soil or water.

3. Inhalation: Microplastics can be inhaled when people breathe in airborne particles.

Percentage of Plastics in the United States that are Recycled:

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the United States recycles about 9% of its plastic waste. The rest of the plastic waste is sent to landfills or incinerated.

Effects of Microplastics on the Oceans:

Microplastics can have a number of negative effects on the oceans and the creatures that live in them, including:

1. Entanglement: Microplastics can entangle and suffocate marine animals, such as sea turtles and seabirds.

2. Ingestion: Microplastics can be ingested by marine animals, which can cause blockages and toxicity.

3. Toxic chemicals: Microplastics can leach toxic chemicals, such as bisphenol A (BPA) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), into the water.

4. Microplastic-based food webs: Microplastics can be consumed by small marine animals, which can lead to the transfer of toxic chemicals up the food chain.

Microplastics are tiny plastic particles that are less than 5mm in size. They have become a pervasive environmental issue, as they can be found in various sources in our daily lives. Here are 30 common sources of microplastics:

1. Toothbrushes: Many toothbrushes are made of plastic materials that can shed microplastics during use.

2. Toilet paper: Some toilet paper brands contain synthetic fibers that can break down into microplastics when flushed.

3. Rubber soles of shoes: As we walk, the friction between the rubber soles and the ground can release small particles of microplastics.

4. Drinking straws: Disposable plastic straws can break down into microplastics over time or when exposed to heat.

5. Plastic bags of food: Plastic bags used for packaging food can degrade and release microplastics into the environment.

6. Plastic cups: Disposable plastic cups, especially those made from polystyrene, can shed microplastics when used with hot beverages.

7. Plastic food storage containers: Plastic containers used for storing food can release microplastics, especially when heated or scratched.

8. Synthetic clothing: Synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon shed microfibers during washing, which contribute to microplastic pollution in water bodies.

9. Cosmetics and personal care products: Some cosmetics, such as exfoliating scrubs and toothpaste, contain microbeads made of plastic that can end up in water systems.

10. Balloons: Balloons made of latex or Mylar (a type of polyester film) can release small fragments of microplastics when they burst or degrade.

11. Cigarette filters: Cigarette filters are often made of cellulose acetate, a type of plastic that breaks down into microplastics over time.

12. Disposable razors: Disposable razors with plastic handles can shed microplastics during use or when disposed of improperly.

13. Plastic cutlery: Disposable plastic cutlery, such as forks and spoons, can break down into microplastics when used with hot foods or liquids.

14. Plastic bottles: Plastic bottles made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) can release microplastics when exposed to heat or sunlight.

15. Food packaging: Various types of plastic food packaging, such as wrappers and containers, can degrade and release microplastics.

16. Plastic utensils: Plastic utensils used for cooking or eating can release microplastics when exposed to high temperatures or acidic foods.

17. Artificial turf: Synthetic grass used in sports fields or landscaping can shed microplastics over time due to wear and tear.

18. Plastic toys: Children’s toys made of plastic materials can release microplastics when they break or degrade.

19. Plastic furniture: Furniture made from plastic materials, such as chairs and tables, can release microplastics through friction or degradation.

20. Plastic packaging materials: Bubble wrap, foam peanuts, and other plastic packaging materials can break down into microplastics during use or disposal.

21. Plastic strapping bands: Strapping bands used for securing packages are often made of plastic and can fragment into microplastics over time.

22. Plastic plant pots: Plastic pots used for gardening can release microplastics as they degrade under sunlight and weathering.

23. Plastic film wrap: Plastic cling film used for wrapping food or covering containers can degrade into microplastics when exposed to heat or light.

24. Plastic disposable gloves: Disposable gloves made of plastic materials can shed microplastics during use or disposal.

25. Plastic shower curtains: Vinyl or PVC shower curtains can release microplastics when they deteriorate or come into contact with hot water.

26. Plastic fishing gear: Abandoned or lost fishing nets, lines, and other gear made of plastic can break down into microplastics in the ocean.

27. Plastic paint: Some paints contain plastic particles that can become microplastics when they peel or degrade over time.

28. Plastic pens and markers: Plastic writing instruments can release microplastics when the ink cartridges or casings break down.

29. Plastic pet products: Pet toys, bowls, and other accessories made of plastic can shed microplastics during use or when chewed on by pets.

30. Plastic household items: Various plastic household items, such as hangers, storage bins, and cleaning tools, can release microplastics through wear and tear.

31. Pacifier for infants

Dr. Michael Wald

Chappaqua, NY – 1-hr north of NYC




Dr. Wald is often asked, are there laboratory tests to detect the presence and effects upon the body of microplastics?

Yes, there are laboratory tests available to detect the presence of plastics in the body. These tests primarily focus on the detection of microplastics, which are tiny plastic particles measuring less than 5mm in size. Microplastics can enter the human body through various routes such as ingestion, inhalation, and dermal absorption.

One commonly used method for detecting microplastics in the body is through the analysis of human tissues or bodily fluids. This can be done by collecting samples such as blood, urine, feces, or even lung tissue and analyzing them using specialized laboratory techniques. These techniques include microscopy, spectroscopy, and molecular analysis.

Microscopy involves visually examining the samples under a microscope to identify and characterize the presence of microplastics. Different types of microscopes such as optical microscopes, scanning electron microscopes (SEM), and transmission electron microscopes (TEM) can be used depending on the size and nature of the microplastics.

Spectroscopy techniques, such as Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and Raman spectroscopy, can be employed to analyze the chemical composition of the suspected particles. These methods can help identify specific polymers commonly used in plastics.

Molecular analysis techniques like polymerase chain reaction (PCR) can be utilized to detect and quantify specific DNA sequences associated with plastic particles. This method can provide information about the type and abundance of microplastics present in a sample.

It is important to note that while these laboratory tests can detect the presence of microplastics in the body, they may not provide information about their exact source or route of entry.

The presence of microplastics in the human body has raised concerns about potential health problems that may arise from their exposure. While research on this topic is still ongoing, several studies have suggested possible health risks associated with microplastic exposure.

One potential health problem is inflammation and oxidative stress. Microplastics can trigger an immune response in the body, leading to chronic inflammation. Additionally, the presence of microplastics can generate reactive oxygen species (ROS), which can cause oxidative stress and damage cells.

Another concern is the potential for microplastics to act as carriers for harmful chemicals. Microplastics have a high surface area-to-volume ratio, allowing them to absorb and accumulate toxic substances such as heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants (POPs). When these microplastics are ingested or inhaled, these chemicals may be released into the body, potentially causing adverse effects on various organs and systems.

Furthermore, there is evidence suggesting that microplastics can disrupt the gut microbiome. The gut microbiome plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health, and any disruption to its balance can have wide-ranging effects on digestion, metabolism, and immune function.

It is important to note that the current understanding of the health effects of microplastics is still evolving, and more research is needed to fully understand their impact on human health. However, based on the available evidence, it is prudent to minimize exposure to microplastics by reducing plastic consumption and promoting proper waste management practices.

What cells, tissues, glands, organs and organ systems are affected by miroplastics?


* Liver: Microplastics can accumulate in the liver and cause damage, leading to inflammation and scarring.

* Lungs: Inhaling microplastics can cause respiratory problems and damage to the lungs.

* Brain: Exposure to microplastics has been linked to cognitive impairment and brain damage.

Organ Systems:

* Digestive System: Microplastics can cause blockages, inflammation, and damage to the digestive system.

* Circulatory System: Microplastics can enter the bloodstream and cause damage to the circulatory system.


* Skin: Microplastics can penetrate the skin and cause irritation, inflammation, and damage.

* Muscles: Microplastics can cause muscle damage and weakness.


* Cells in the body can become damaged or die due to exposure to microplastics.


* Thyroid Gland: Exposure to microplastics has been linked to thyroid hormone disruption and gland damage.

It’s important to note that the effects of microplastics on the human body are still being studied, and more research is needed to fully understand the extent of their impact. However, it is clear that microplastics can have serious and far-reaching consequences for both animal and human health.

Effects on Nutritional Health:

Research has suggested that microplastics can affect nutritional health in several ways, including:

1. Interference with nutrient absorption: Microplastics can bind to nutrients like iron, zinc, and calcium, making it more difficult for the body to absorb them.

2. Inflammation: Microplastics can cause inflammation in the body, which can lead to a range of health problems, including digestive issues and chronic diseases.

3. Disruption of gut bacteria: Microplastics can alter the balance of gut bacteria, which can lead to changes in the way the body processes nutrients and can increase the risk of certain diseases.

Foods and Nutritional Supplements That May Contain Microplastics:

Microplastics have been found in a variety of foods and nutritional supplements, including:

1. Seafood: Microplastics have been found in high concentrations in seafood, particularly in shellfish and oysters.

2. Bottled water: Some studies have found microplastics in bottled water, although the concentration is typically much lower than in seafood.

3. Nutritional supplements: Some nutritional supplements, such as fish oil and probiotics, may contain microplastics.

How does Dr. Wald BloodDetective approach help the problem of microplastics?

Dr. Michael Wald’s Blood Detective method of blood nutritional analysis is a holistic approach to identifying and removing microplastics from the body. This method involves analyzing the blood for specific markers that indicate the presence of microplastics, and then using nutritional therapies and other natural remedies to help the body remove these toxins.

The Blood Detective method is based on the idea that the body’s cells and organs are like a barcode reader and that the blood carries a unique “barcode” that reflects the body’s overall health and nutritional status. By analyzing the blood, Dr. Wald can identify specific nutrient deficiencies and imbalances that may be contributing to the presence of microplastics in the body.

Once the specific nutrient imbalances are identified, Dr. Wald can recommend a personalized nutritional protocol that includes dietary changes, supplements, and other natural remedies to help the body remove the microplastics. This may involve increasing the intake of certain nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and fiber, which can help to detoxify the body and support the immune system.

In addition to nutritional therapies, Dr. Wald may also recommend other natural remedies, such as sauna therapy, exercise, and stress reduction techniques, to help the body remove microplastics. These therapies can help to stimulate the body’s natural detoxification processes and support the immune system in its efforts to remove toxins.

Microplastics as Hormonal Dysruptors

Hormonal disruption is one of the key mechanisms through which microplastics can affect women’s health. Microplastics contain additives such as phthalates and bisphenols, which are known endocrine disruptors. These chemicals can interfere with the normal functioning of the endocrine system, which regulates hormone production and signaling in the body. When microplastics enter the body through ingestion or inhalation, these additives can leach out and disrupt the delicate hormonal balance.

Inflammation is another consequence of microplastic exposure. Studies have shown that microplastics can induce an inflammatory response in various tissues and organs. Chronic inflammation has been linked to a range of health issues, including hormonal imbalances. Inflammation can disrupt the normal production and regulation of hormones, leading to dysregulation of menstrual cycles, fertility problems, and other women’s health concerns.

Microplastics also have the ability to mimic hormones or interfere with hormone receptors in the body. Some types of microplastics contain chemicals that structurally resemble natural hormones like estrogen or progesterone. When these microplastics enter the body, they can bind to hormone receptors and activate or inhibit their function. This disruption can lead to imbalances in hormone levels and contribute to various women’s health problems.

Furthermore, microplastics can promote endocrine imbalance by altering the production, transport, and metabolism of hormones in the body. Studies have shown that exposure to microplastics can affect the activity of enzymes involved in hormone synthesis and metabolism, leading to imbalances in hormone levels. These imbalances can contribute to menstrual irregularities, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), fatigue, weight gain, and other women’s health issues.

Several common women’s health problems can be worsened by microplastic exposure. Migraines, for example, have been associated with hormonal fluctuations, and the endocrine-disrupting properties of microplastics can exacerbate these fluctuations. Menstruation period irregularities can also be influenced by hormonal disruption caused by microplastics. PCOS, a condition characterized by hormonal imbalances and ovarian cysts, may be aggravated by the endocrine-disrupting effects of microplastics.

Fatigue and weight gain are also linked to hormonal imbalances, and microplastic exposure can contribute to these issues. Hormonal disruption caused by microplastics can affect energy metabolism and lead to fatigue. Additionally, some studies suggest that microplastics may disrupt the normal regulation of appetite and metabolism, potentially contributing to weight gain or difficulty losing weight.

Lastly, menopause and hormone-related cancers may be influenced by microplastic exposure. Menopause is a natural transition marked by hormonal changes, and the presence of endocrine-disrupting chemicals from microplastics can further disrupt this delicate balance. Hormone-related cancers such as breast cancer or ovarian cancer may also be affected by the endocrine-disrupting properties of microplastics.

In conclusion, microplastics have the potential to cause hormonal disruption, and inflammation, mimic hormones, affect hormone receptors, promote endocrine imbalance, and worsen several common women’s health problems. The exact mechanisms through which microplastics exert these effects are still being investigated but involve the leaching of additives from microplastics and their interaction with the endocrine system. It is crucial to further research the impact of microplastics on human health and take necessary measures to reduce their release into the environment.

Top 3 Authoritative Reference Publications or Domain Names Used in Answering this Question:

1. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) – www.niehs.nih.gov

2. Environmental Science & Technology – www.pubs.acs.org/journal/esthag

3. World Health Organization (WHO) – www.who.int

Estrogen is a hormone that plays a crucial role in the female reproductive system and overall health. However, excessive estrogen levels or estrogen dominance can lead to various health issues, including hormonal imbalances, menstrual irregularities, weight gain, and an increased risk of certain cancers. While there are no specific vitamins, minerals, or nutraceuticals that can directly block estrogen receptors in a woman’s body, certain compounds and herbs have been studied for their potential to modulate estrogen activity and promote hormonal balance.

1. Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C): Found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower, I3C is a compound that has been shown to have anti-estrogenic effects. It works by promoting the metabolism of estrogen into less potent forms and inhibiting the activity of enzymes involved in estrogen synthesis. Additionally, I3C has been found to increase the production of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), which helps regulate estrogen levels in the body.

2. Diindolylmethane (DIM): DIM is a metabolite of I3C and is also found in cruciferous vegetables. Like I3C, DIM helps promote the metabolism of estrogen into less active forms. It has been suggested that DIM may have anti-estrogenic effects by inhibiting the activity of aromatase, an enzyme involved in estrogen synthesis. DIM has also been shown to support healthy estrogen metabolism by promoting the production of beneficial metabolites.

3. Calcium D-Glucarate: Calcium D-glucarate is a natural compound found in fruits and vegetables such as oranges, apples, and broccoli. It has been studied for its potential to support healthy estrogen metabolism by inhibiting an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase. This enzyme is responsible for deconjugating estrogen metabolites in the gut, allowing them to be reabsorbed into the bloodstream. By inhibiting beta-glucuronidase, calcium D-glucarate helps promote the elimination of estrogen metabolites from the body.

4. Chrysin: Chrysin is a flavonoid found in various plants, including passionflower, honey, and propolis. It has been suggested to have anti-estrogenic effects by inhibiting the aromatase enzyme, which converts testosterone into estrogen. However, more research is needed to fully understand its mechanisms of action and effectiveness.

5. Black Cohosh: Black cohosh is a herb that has been traditionally used for women’s health concerns, including menopausal symptoms. While its exact mechanisms of action are not fully understood, some studies suggest that black cohosh may have estrogen-modulating effects. It has been proposed that black cohosh may act as a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM), meaning it can selectively bind to estrogen receptors and either stimulate or inhibit their activity depending on the tissue type.

6.Vitamins: Certain vitamins have been suggested to play a role in hormonal balance and may indirectly influence estrogen receptor activity. These include vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. Vitamin D has been associated with regulating hormone levels and supporting overall reproductive health. Vitamin E is known for its antioxidant properties and potential role in modulating estrogen levels. Vitamin B6 is involved in hormone metabolism and may help maintain hormonal balance. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and may support the detoxification process.

7. Minerals: Some minerals are believed to contribute to hormonal regulation and may potentially affect estrogen receptor activity. These include zinc, magnesium, selenium, and iodine. Zinc is involved in hormone production and metabolism and may help regulate estrogen levels. Magnesium plays a role in hormone synthesis and metabolism and may support hormonal balance. Selenium is an essential mineral that acts as an antioxidant and may have a protective effect on estrogen receptors. Iodine is crucial for thyroid function, which plays a role in hormonal regulation.

8. Fibers: Dietary fibers are known for their ability to support digestive health, but they may also indirectly influence estrogen levels by aiding in the elimination of excess hormones from the body. Examples of fiber-rich foods include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and seeds.

9. Phytonutrients: Phytonutrients are bioactive compounds found in plants that have been associated with various health benefits. Some phytonutrients may have estrogen-modulating properties, potentially helping to regulate estrogen receptor activity. Examples include lignans (found in flaxseeds and sesame seeds), isoflavones (found in soy products), and ndole-3-carbinol (found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage).

10. Nutraceuticals and Herbs: Certain nutraceuticals and herbs have been traditionally used to support hormonal balance, but their specific effects on estrogen receptors affected by microplastics are not well-studied. Examples include evening primrose oil, black cohosh, chasteberry, dong quai, red clover, and turmeric. It is important to note that the use of these substances should be approached with caution and under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

12. Soy: Soy products contain isoflavones, which are phytoestrogens that can bind to estrogen receptors in the body. These compounds have a weaker estrogenic effect compared to endogenous estrogens. While some studies suggest that soy isoflavones may help regulate estrogen levels, the evidence is mixed, and more research is needed to understand their potential effects on estrogen receptors affected by microplastics.

It is important to note that while these compounds and herbs have shown potential in modulating estrogen activity, their effects may vary among individuals. Additionally, it is always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplements or herbal remedies, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking medications.


Dr. Michael Wald’s Blood Detective approach is a comprehensive method for identifying and removing microplastics from the body. It involves raising awareness about the existence of microplastics, understanding their presence in the environment, and implementing dietary and nutritional strategies to minimize exposure and enhance detoxification. By utilizing specialized testing methods, such as blood tests and hair analysis, Dr. Wald aims to assess an individual’s toxic load and develop personalized protocols to support the body’s natural detoxification processes. This approach emphasizes the importance of a healthy diet, targeted supplementation, and lifestyle modifications to reduce microplastic accumulation and promote overall well-being.

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*DISCLAIMER: Dr. Michael Wald is a doctor of chiropractic with a masters degree in nutrition. He is also a Certified Dietitian Nutritionist and a Certified Nutritional Specialist and Sports Nutritionist. Dr. Wald is certified to provide acupuncture in several states, but not New York. Dr. Wald has two board certifications in nutrition. Dr. Michael Wald earned his MD diploma, but did not complete a residency and is thus not licensed to practice medicine. The information on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not to substitute for sound medical or health advice. Information contained within this website may change at any time without prior notice. The information on this website is under copyright, 2021.