Presence of nanoplastics tied to higher risk of heart attack, stroke, or death

The presence of micro- and nanoplastics in human arteries has been linked to cardiovascular diseases. A new study followed 257 patients with narrowed blood vessels in their necks caused by the build-up of plaque, fatty deposits on the inside of the vessel wall. Researchers found that the plaque of 150 of these patients, nearly 60%, contained small plastic particles. Patients with these plastic particles in their plaque had a higher risk of heart attack, stroke, or death over a period of nearly three years compared to patients whose plaque was free of plastics. The study was led by Raffaele Marfella from the University of Vanvitelli in Italy and was published in The New England Journal of Medicine last week.

The study is the first of its kind, says MOMENTUM’s Dick Vethaak in an interview with NBC News. It is the first time that a large number of patients has been followed for years to track their health in so much detail. The study only revealed a correlation and cannot show that the microplastics caused heart attack, stroke, or death. Nevertheless, it still offers hints about the relationship between plastic particles and heart disease, says said Dr. Martha Gulati from the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles.