Microplastics found in penile tissue, study reveals

A study published in Nature examined tissue samples from six men who had undergone surgery for erectile dysfunction, revealing microplastics in 80% of the samples. Researchers identified seven types of microplastics, some as small as two micrometres. Nearly half of the microplastics were polyethylene terephthalate, commonly used in clothing and food packaging, while 34.7% were polypropylene, a harder plastic used in packaging. Some particles were as large as half a millimetre.

The study highlights the impact of environmental pollutants on sexual health. “Our research provides groundbreaking insights into microplastics in penile tissue,” the researchers noted. “This adds a crucial dimension to discussions about environmental pollutants and male sexual health.”

Microplastics can enter the human body through food, water, air, or touch. First detected in human blood in 2022, their presence has been linked to severe health conditions. A March 2023 study found that patients with microplastics in their blood vessels were more likely to suffer strokes, early deaths, or heart attacks, although it did not establish a direct cause.

Further research is needed to determine if microplastics contribute to erectile dysfunction. Dr. Ranjith Ramasamy, who led the study, emphasized the importance of investigating the mechanisms by which these particles affect health. Previous studies have shown microplastics in the heart and blood vessels, suggesting a widespread issue.

This recent research, involving experts from the University of Miami, University of Colorado, San Rafaele University in Milan, and Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon in Germany, underscores the pervasive and potentially harmful presence of microplastics in human tissues.