Monday 1st of March 2021

plastic humanity...

The ubiquity of microplastics (plastic particles <5 mm, including nanosized plastics <1 µm) in the global biosphere raises increasing concerns about their implications for human health (1–3). 

Recent evidence indicates that humans constantly inhale and ingest microplastics; however, whether these contaminants pose a substantial risk to human health is far from understood. The lack of crucial data on exposure and hazard represents key knowledge gaps t hat need to be addressed to move forward.

Microplastics are created by the weathering and breakdown of plastic objects, car tires, clothing, paint coatings, and leakage of preproduction pellets and powders. They may also be intentionally added to daily-life products (e.g., cosmetics and abrasive cleaners) (1, 2). Microplastics represent a highly diverse class of contaminants spanning five orders of magnitude in size, are of various shapes (e.g., spheres, fragments, fibers), and have a complex composition, including polymeric materials and mixtures of chemicals (residual monomers, additives, and hydrophobic environmental contaminants) (4–6). Furthermore, biofilms growing on microplastics may be a source of harmful microorganisms (2, 7). Their ubiquity in the environment raises serious concerns about their effects on wildlife and ecosystems (1), but what are their effects on human health?

Microplastics may enter the human body through both inhalation and ingestion, potentially causing health effects (see the figure). A parallel can be drawn with particulate air pollution: Small particles (<2.5 µm), such as those from diesel exhaust, are capable of crossing cell membranes and triggering oxidative stress and inflammation, and have been linked with increased risk of death from cardiovascular and respiratory diseases or lung cancer (3). This parallel provides ample incentive to gather more information on the potential risk of microplastic particles.

A major issue when determining the risks of microplastics to human health is the lack of information on human exposure. Adequate analytical tools to sample, isolate, detect, quantify, and characterize small microplastics (<10 µm), especially nanosized plastic particles, are urgently needed. External exposure estimates comprise limited and highly variable data of mainly large particles (>10 to 50 µm), with poor standardization and quality control measures, hampering a comprehensive exposure assessment (1, 8). Nevertheless, a growing body of evidence suggests widespread exposure to microplastics from various foods, drinking water, and air (1, 9, 10).

Reported concentrations of microplastics in tap and bottled water vary between 0 and 104particles/liter, with generally greater particle counts for small-sized microplastics (8). The first atmospheric measurements of larger-sized, predominantly fibrous microplastics indicate that plastic particles are a relevant component of fine dust, with, for example, deposition rates in central London ranging between 575 and 1008 microplastics per square meter per day (9). Increased exposure through indoor air, direct swallowing of house dust or dust settling on food (10), and direct exposure to particles released from plastic food containers or bottles, such as polypropylene infant feeding bottles (11), are of special concern. Larger microplastics are likely excreted through feces, or after deposition in the respiratory tract or lungs through mucociliary clearance into the gut (1, 4). Given the methodological limitations and measurement bias toward larger particles, existing analyses probably underestimate human external exposure and generally do not include the fraction of smaller-sized particles <10 µm, which are likely more relevant to toxicity (1, 12). Notably, internal exposure measurements of plastic particles in human body fluids and tissues are still in their infancy.

A better understanding of the ability of microplastics to cross the epithelial barriers of the airway, gastrointestinal tract, and skin is needed to reduce the current uncertainty in the human risk assessment of microplastics. Limited in vitro and in vivo data suggest that only small fractions of administered microplastics are capable of crossing epithelial barriers of lungs and intestines, with specific uptake profiles and generally increasing uptake efficiency with decreasing particle size (2). This low proportion of particle uptake is not necessarily unimportant when considering life-long exposure and because of possible accumulation in tissues and organs. Studies with human cells in culture, and in rodents and aquatic species indicate translocation of microplastics <10 µm from the gut cavity to the lymph and circulatory systems, causing systemic exposure and accumulation in tissues including liver, kidney, and brain (12). Al though the smallest particles (<0.1 µm) may be capable of accessing all organs, crossing cell membranes (12), the placenta (13), and also the brain (14), major knowledge gaps regarding absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (ADME) still exist. Whether there are dose-dependent effects of microplastics in humans also remains unknown.

Once in contact with epithelial linings in the lung or intestine, or after being internalized, microplastics may cause physical, chemical, and microbiological toxicity, which could also act cumulatively. Several in vitro (i.e., human cell culture) and in vivo rodent studies indicate the potential of inhaled or ingested microplastics to cause a variety of biological effects, including physical (particle) toxicity, leading to oxidative stress, secretion of cytokines, cellular damage, inflammatory and immune reactions, and DNA damage, as well as neurotoxic and metabolic effects (12). The observed effects are usually triggered at high exposure concentrations of microplastics, and these experiments use a limited number of pristine, commercially available particle types, which are inconsistent with those encountered in the environment. Furthermore, chemical contamination of these test particles cannot always be excluded. Similar to the effects observed in ambient particle exposure studies, epidemiological studies have reported lung injuries, including inflammation, fibrosis, and allergy, among workers in the plastic and textile industry who are exposed to high amounts of plastic fibrous dust (4).

Chemical toxicity may be caused by microplastics acting as vectors to transfer exogenous hazardous chemicals, proteins, and toxins present in or on the particles into the body (1, 5, 6). However, this “Trojan horse” effect is understudied with little knowledge of the role of nanosized microplastics, which are more effective at crossing biological membranes and have increased surface area for chemical reactivity than larger-sized microplastics. Some studies suggest that aquatic microplastics may act as vectors of microbiological toxicity, carrying biofilm-associated opportunistic bacterial pathogens and antibiotic resistance genes that may interact with gut microbiota (15). In-depth research on the stability of microbial contaminants within the human body is required to further clarify this. The possibility that microplastics act as carriers of other potential pathogens, such as fungi and viruses, also deserves attention. More research is urgently needed to fully understand the potential toxicity, underlying mechanisms, and long-term effects of microplastics under real life conditions.

An additional intriguing, yet understudied, but potentially hazardous property of microplastics is the presence of an eco- or biocorona, i.e., biomolecules and other substances on the surface of the plastic particle, which may influence particle uptake, fate, and effects (7, 13). The heterogeneous composition of the eco- or biocorona is determined by the physicochemical properties of the microplastic and complex particle interactions with both the environment (comprising natural matter, biomolecules, chemical contaminants, and microorganisms) and the human body (adsorbed lipid and proteins) (6, 7, 13). Before crossing the epithelial barriers in the lung and intestine, microplastics are trapped in the mucus layer covering the cells, whereas ingested particles have to pass through acidic conditions in the stomach and intestinal lumen. The role of the changing composition of the eco- or biocorona acquired by microparticles, from the outside to the inside of the body, across tissue barriers, and the underlying mechanisms in mediating uptake and toxicity are poorly understood and deserve more study.

Microplastics and human health

• A. Dick Vethaak1,2,  • Juliette Legler3

Science  12 Feb 2021:
Vol. 371, Issue 6530, pp. 672-674

loony yankees save the universe...

Pop culture’s silliest superhero, Plastic Man is as much a humor icon as a heroic one.  During a heist gone wrong, petty crook Patrick “Eel” O’Brian was doused in chemicals, allowing him to stretch his body into any shape he desires. Nursed back to health by altruistic monks, he was inspired to embrace life’s brighter side.




Comics have shaped the psyche of Americans, as much as religion and politics. Comics are the modern technological fairy tales that are designed to make young Yankees swallow the ordinary hardships through distractions in which a justicerer — formerly Jesus Christ — with superior skills, ability and gnostic grasp of good and evil, can solve petty daily problems, including the invented "original sin" or the robbery of a bank (!)... Sciences of course have a lot to answer for: "science fiction"... It may have started with frankenstein. Don't you love the bit about the "altruistic monks"?



The delusions are our saviours?...



Rod Dreher has read Coyote Fork, by James Wilson — and because Wilson indulges the reader in exploring Gnosticism, as well as good and evil, Rod is in raptures upto the seventh heaven… Here he inflates his dissertation:

The whole world groaned, and was astonished to find itself Arian.” — St. Jerome.

Now the whole world groans, and is astonished to find itself Gnostic.

The philosophical heart of the book [Coyote Fork] is its discussion of Gnosticism as the foundation of techno-utopianism. It comes up in Lovelace’s association with Ruth Halassian, a philosophy professor who knew Evan Bone at Stanford. Ruth is being harassed by woke students at her small Ohio liberal arts college because she challenges their wokeness on philosophical grounds. They call her a hater and a bigot, and are trying to run her out of town.



At this stage, we might have to worry about plastic in our veins more than philosophy in our brains...

The whole world being Gnostic? You’re kidding Rod, aren’t you? Too many people in Yankeeland believe in a superior being acting like a Jesus or a Plastic Man — a redeemed crook now destined to do good — or Captain America to save us from the bad deeds we do to each others… Ridiculous but this powerful concept of superhero comes to mind because we’re too stupid to manage ourselves or/and cook a scrambled egg without making a mess in the kitchen.

I wont torture your brave hearts with more from Rod Dreher but "you can read the whole thing” as he often says at

Let’s go to a commercial beak…

Coyote Fork
   James Wilson
   266 pages
   September 1, 2020

British journalist Robert Lovelace travels to California to report on the social media giant Global Village. He’s horrified by what he finds: a company—guided by the ruthless vision of its founder, Evan Bone—that seems to be making journalism itself redundant. Appalled, he decides to abandon the project and return home.

But as he leaves he has a disconcerting encounter that sends him off in a totally different direction. Soon he finds himself embarked on an increasingly fraught and dangerous mission. The aim: to uncover the murky truth about Evan Bone’s past and his pathological disregard for the human cost of the behemoth he has created.

Robert’s quest takes him from San Francisco to a small college town in the Midwest, to the site of a former hippie commune in northern California, introducing us to a range of vivid characters, and confronting us with the price we pay—online trolling; the loss of privacy; professional ruin—for living in an “interconnected” world. Finally, he makes a startling discovery—and is thrown into a completely unforeseen existential dilemma.

A timely, stylishly written, and brilliantly conceived metaphysical thriller, Coyote Fork carries us on an unforgettable journey, before bringing us face to face with the darkness at the heart of Silicon Valley itself.

Read more:

The important word at the top, ABOVE the self-brilliant blurb is FICTION. YES Fiction…! Comics? F-I-C-T-I-O-N !... The philosophical content of this adventure is childish, nothing that we have not seen in the DCs with Superman — or now SiliCON-man of the valley, where plots to turn us into zombies and hippies (1960 chapter) are being secretly fermented in electronic beer vats… I can see why Rod and his naive dog love this sort of story: James Wilson mentioned Gnosticism as if it was the Holy Grail to reality... Here is Rod again (I think/):

In Coyote Fork, Wilson shows why these communes failed: they were all founded on some form of the belief that man is born good, but society makes him evil. If they can recreate society to get rid of the things that make people bad, they will have regenerated paradise. In Wilson’s view, the techno-utopians are making the same mistakes, but this time, the entire world has to pay the price. For example, tech brought into existence social media mobs who drive cancel culture, and surveillance technology that makes it very hard to escape that mob. This plays a key role in Coyote Fork.

One can write anything under the cover of fiction, by candlelight in a garret. So what was the point of Rod’s tirade/article/blurt? I have no idea but it's possible that Rod assumes failure of communes is inevitable, because that's the subject of Coyote Fork. Yep, the failure of empire is inevitable. The failure of communism happened a tad earlier than capitalism's failure that is happening now — as we try to rescue the bits in bitcoins and gold bullions.

We live in the human complex space of stylistic choices. I know some communes that have been successful and still are. To some extend, the failure of communes isn’t due to the communes themselves, but often due to officialdom trying to shut them down, because they don’t contribute to the taxation honeypot that feeds the politics… And there is little plastic rubbish in communes, except that that flies in from our plastic societies...

Please! Stop giving the kids tools to write the same crap we have written about 100 years ago. We had to be a bit more organised in our thoughts because we did not have the cut and paste app...


Plastic in humans is a serious business... gnostic plastic is rubbish.