How to Avoid and Detoxify Microplastics

5 comments by Nelson Montelauro

(Source: Feng et al., 2023)

We have heard our whole lives about how plastic waste harms the environment, and how long it takes to degrade. But degrade it does, posing an even bigger problem as countless micro and nano-sized particles shed into the air, water, and food we consume. Plastic is ubiquitous in everyday items like clothing, water, salt, chewing gum, napkins, foil, food containers, mattresses, and curtains. Researchers have found the highest quantities in seafood, water, and milk. One study found around 2,649 particles in plastic bottled water, even more (6,292 particles) in glass bottled water, 2,000-10,000/gm in milk, and over 7,000/ gram in shrimp. 

At this point, plastic particles of every size down to the nanometer have been found in the human bloodstream, breast milk, lungs and other tissues. Even the blood-brain barrier cannot defend against them, and studies have found that plastic particles accumulated in the brain tissue, easily crossing the blood-brain barrier in mice (Shan, et al, 2022). 

Given the brain’s large demand for blood, scientists theorized that this was the route they took to arrive in the brain. This led one set of researchers to use positron emission tomography (PET) to study the pharmacokinetic profile and biodistribution of micro and nanoplastics, particularly their circulation through the bloodstream. By tagging polysterene particles with radiolabeled zirconium, they were able to trace the route of micro and nano plastics in vivo, using mice, to examine several organs and systems where the plastics were known to accumulate.

“The good news is that within 1 hour, most of the radioactive particles had been transported to the GI tract.”

Fate of Particles in the Lungs, Bloodstream and Bones

Using two particles - one that was 1 micron, and another that was 20 nanometers - the researchers administered through inhalation. Most of the particles delivered this way reached the lungs. But their fate was varied, with most of the micron-sized plastic particles being engulfed by macrophages, and the nano plastics being untraceable due to their small size. 

The good news is that within 1 hour, most of the radioactive particles had been transported to the GI tract, where they ended up being excreted in feces. The remaining radioactive particles, however, could be found persisting within the lungs, and some were deposited into the femur and occipital bones. This is an alarming fate for these particles, because they persisted after 24 hours, and could have a cumulative effect.  

By injecting the plastics into the blood, the scientists also were able to trace the biodistribution of the plastic particles, finding that they ended up being both excreted partially, and retained by certain organs. Some, liver-to-blood clearance of plastic was seen, but most of the particles were excreted through the urine, while high levels of particles remained and accumulated in the liver, spleen and gallbladder. 

What is the Body’s Physiological Response to Plastic?

Depending on the type of plastic and its size and shape, various effects can be seen in the body, none of them good. 

A 2022 study exposed human dendritic cells to several shapes, sizes, and types of plastic, finding that they induced proinflammatory responses by the immune cells, which led them to increase secretion of cytokines. The more fragmented the particles, the more they provoked the cytokine response. Surprisingly, only a small amount of chemicals leeched from the plastic, and seemed to have little overall effect. However, the chemicals leeched have been linked to even greater problems, such as cancer and endocrine disruption. BPA is one of the worst endocrine disrupters, and still ubiquitous in products. 

Endocrine disrupters are so concerning because they bind to the body’s natural hormone receptors, causing cardiovascular and fertility problems, cancer, and other diseases. One of the most prominent plastic chemical known for this is BPA. Studies have found that BPA induces cytochrome P450 enzyme activities when it accumulates

BPA’s Impacts on the Cardiovascular, Urinary, and Immune Systems

BPA not only effects reproductive systems, but the cardiovascular system of children exposed to BPA in the womb and in breast milk. BPA was linked to cardiovascular disease through a number of mechanisms, such as by blocking the heart’s sodium channel receptors, altering calcium homeostasis, causing cardiac dysfunction, and worsening atherosclerosis. 

BPA was also found to cause urinary system dysfunction, such as bladder enlargement, hypertrophy, and impaired kidney function through inflammation and fibrosis. In the GI tract, BPA promotes dysfunction of mitochondria, causing them excess oxidative stress and inflammation. BPA was also found to be associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease later in life, as well as increased anxiety and depressive disorders. 

The immune system is also adversely affected by BPA, resulting in a significant decline in neutrophil viability, as well as direct genotoxic effects on lymphocytes by causing DNA strand breakage. Further studies have shown that BPA was correlated with an increase risk of developing cancer of the lung, cervix, ovaries, breast, and prostrate.

On the nervous system, BPA has similar disastrous effects, causing neuroinflammation, neurotransmitter dysfunction, nerve cell death (Gu, et al., 2022). 

BPA-Free Isn’t Much Better

Unfortunately, the most common substitute, BPS (biphenol S) was found to have similar effects on the endocrine and reproductive systems. So it is best to avoid any plastic-lined food or beverage container. Other plastic compounds that make their way into our bodies come from burned plastic and plastic chemicals that leech into soil, food and beverages. PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, are inhaled when plastic is burned, and can accumulate inducing cytochrome P450, and overloading our detoxification systems. 

How to Detoxify Plastic and its Effects on the Body?

As we’ve just discussed, the body has a few avenues for excreting plastic particles: through the GI tract, through macrophages, and through liver-to-blood clearance ending up in the urine. This means that by supporting our phase I and phase II detoxification pathways, we can improve the body’s natural defenses. Phase I consists of the proliferation of cytochrome P450 enzymes, to make harmful molecules less toxic, but they still accumulate and can overwhelm the body if not detoxed through phase II. During phase II, the liver adds a molecule, like cysteine, to the toxic chemical to decrease its toxicity and allow it to be purged. 

This is why one of the most important supplements for detoxing plastic particles chemicals is Glutathione, and n-acetyl cysteine (NAC), the main precursor to glutathione production.

One of the most important defense we have against any disease is our gut microbiome, which is constantly assaulted by a range of toxins, parasites, bacteria and fungi that we inevitably ingest. Some studies have found that probiotic supplements like bifidobacterium breve and lactobacillus casei were able to extract BPA from blood. 

Another study examined a range of natural suppliments to see which had the greatest protective and detoxification of BPA in various human organs. The results are pictured below”

(Sirasanagandla, et al., 2022). 

To reduce cumulative exposure while detoxing:


  • Unfiltered water
  • Anything placed or stored hot in plastic. 
  • Styrofoam
  • Chewing Gum
  • Plasticware
  • Seafood
  • Baby bottles and diapers made of plastic
  • Personal care products that aren’t natural or organic
  • Produce raised by Big-Ag, sprayed with herbicides leaving plastic residue
  • Canned food, lined with plastic BPA or BPS lining
  • Receipts and paper bags (containing 1000 times more BPA than a can of food, rubs easily onto skin and cannot be washed off). 

Best Supplements for Detoxifying Plastic Particles and Chemicals: 

NAC - N-Acetyl Cysteine



Quercetin Combined with Vitamin C, Bromelain, and Zinc [60% OFF]

Resveratrol and anthocyanins 


Lycopene and propolis  





Delaney, S., Rodriguez, C., Sarrett, S. M., Dayts, E. J., Zeglis, B. M., & Keinänen, O. (2023). Unraveling the in vivo fate of inhaled micro-and nanoplastics with PET imaging. Science of the Total Environment, 904, 166320.

Gu, J.; Guo, M.; Yin, X.; Huang, C.; Qian, L.; Zhou, L.; Wang, Z.; Wang, L.; Shi, L.; Ji, G. A systematic comparison of neurotoxicity of bisphenol A and its derivatives in zebrafish. Sci. Total Environ. 2022, 805, 150210. 

Nicholson, T.M.; Nguyen, J.L.; Leverson, G.E.; Taylor, J.A.; Vom Saal, F.S.; Wood, R.W.; Ricke, W.A. Endocrine disruptor bisphenol A is implicated in urinary voiding dysfunction in male mice. Am. J. Physiol. Ren. Physiol. 2018, 315, F1208–F1216. 

Rodrigues, A. C. B., de Jesus, G. P., Waked, D., Gomes, G. L., Silva, T. M., Yariwake, V. Y., ... & Veras, M. M. (2022). Scientific evidence about the risks of micro and nanoplastics (MNPLs) to human health and their exposure routes through the environment. Toxics, 10(6), 308.

Shan, S., Zhang, Y., Zhao, H., Zeng, T., Zhao, X., 2022). Polystyrene nanoplasticspenetrate across the blood-brain barrier and induce activation of microglia in thebrain of mice. Chemosphere 298, 134261.

Sirasanagandla, S. R., Al-Huseini, I., Sakr, H., Moqadass, M., Das, S., Juliana, N., & Abu, I. F. (2022). Natural products in mitigation of Bisphenol a toxicity: Future therapeutic use. Molecules, 27(17), 5384.

Weber, A., Schwiebs, A., Solhaug, H., Stenvik, J., Nilsen, A. M., Wagner, M., ... & Radeke, H. H. (2022). Nanoplastics affect the inflammatory cytokine release by primary human monocytes and dendritic cells. Environment International, 163, 107173.


  • Sharlene Bryant

    Thank you for all the information you shared.

  • Nelson

    Responding to the question about blood tests for micoplastic, this company is the first to develop a home blood test for microplastics:

    The N-95 is a good choice for limiting those small plastic particles, (compared to the flimsy ones that actually contribute to microplastic inhalation) but be careful because it might not get even smaller paint particles, and more importantly is not effective for limiting volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

  • Carole Ann Catapano

    I imagine being around paints, inhaling spray paint or spackle dust that probably all has plastic in it. Also having worked done at my house and I’ve been wearing n95 mask.
    Is there a blood test to see how much nano plastic one might have in the bloodstream?

  • Mary Abramson

    Thank you so much for such an extensive overview of the ‘plastics’ subject. I will forward to all my friends and family members.

  • Ac

    **Important information. Well detailed.
    Thank you very much.

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