25,000 Microplastics Released from Hot Plastic Cups in 15 Minutes

Disposable paper cups are familiar to everyone, small and can be thrown away after use. It can be said that the use of disposable paper cups has become particularly common.

25,000 Microplastics Released from Hot Plastic Cups in 15 Minutes

However, a recent new study found that long-term use of disposable paper cups to drink hot tea or coffee will actually drink tens of thousands of microplastics which will bring a burden to the body.

Microplastics were released into the hot drinks

In November, 2020, a group of researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology found that after filling a disposable paper cups with a hot drinks (such as coffee or tea), about 25,000 microplastics were released into the hot drinks in the past 15 minutes. This result was also published in the leading international environmental journals, Journal of Hazardous Materials.

In the experiment, the researchers first poured hot water at a temperature of 85 to 90 degrees Celsius into a disposable paper cups, and then left it for 15 minutes (because most people are used to drinking hot drinks after 15 minutes). Then researchers used fluorescence microscope to analyze the hot liquid, and examined the changes of physical, chemical and mechanical properties of the plastic lining of the paper cups, respectively.

The scanning electron microscope found that microplastics would be released into the hot liquid. About 25 million microplastics could be precipitated from a paper cup of about 100 ml, and some toxic heavy metals such as lead, chromium and cadmium were also detected. This means that if you drink 3 cups of hot drinks in a day with paper cups, about 75,000,000 microplastics will enter your body with hot drinks every day.

Microplastics first came to human attention in 2004

The term "microplastics" was introduced in 2004 by Professor Richard Thompson, a marine biologist at the University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom. Microplastics generally refer to plastic particles between 0.33 mm and 5 mm in size. Microplastics can originate from a variety of sources including, microbeads from personal care products; fibers from synthetic clothing; pre-production pellets and powders; and fragments degraded from larger plastic products.

At present, many countries and regions have introduced restrict plastic production, not only from the angle of environmental protection, but also from the angle of its harm to the human body. Studies have found that microplastics are difficult to be excreted if they enter the body, and they also enter the body with the bloodstream to cause various inflammatory diseases by hitting and rubbing the body organs, and they also release toxic chemicals and destroy our immunity. Therefore, if you ingest microplastics for a long time, the health effects will be very serious, such as the probability of cancer will be greatly increased.

In addition, microplastics will enter the soil and ocean, and then be absorbed by plants and animals, while humans are at the top of the food chain, it is very difficult to be unaffected.

Plastic has entered the human body

Plastic pollution is a growing problem, and on October 22, 2018, the United European Gastroenterology had announced a study reporting that microplastics in life are everywhere and are consumed by humans every day.

The researchers analyzed volunteers from eight countries over a period of time, namely Austria, Italy, Finland, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia and the United Kingdom. Micro-plastics were found in the feces samples of these volunteers, and there were about 20 micro-plastics in every 10g of feces.


In order to make a radical change in this situation, we must act quickly. The first task is to reduce the use of plastics at the source, increase the recycling rate and stop the increase of plastic pollution worldwide. We should use compostable bioplastic products in our life such as reusable coffee cups, bowls, etc.This is not only responsible for the natural environment, but also for the future of our species.

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