‘Fighting the invisible’: Brisbane lab on hunt for plastic in human brains

6 February 2023

Professor Kevin Thomas from UQ’s Queensland Alliance for Environmental Health Sciences spoke to AAP about the Minderoo Centre- Plastics and Human Health.

Most people have heard of microplastics – small fragments of plastic that are less than 5 millimetres in length.

But they’re enormous compared to the nanoplastics Professor Thomas is looking for, the kind that might be capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier that protects it from circulating toxins or pathogens.

“To give you an idea of how small we’re going, we’re looking for things that are 1000 times smaller than the width of a human hair – and below that,” Professor Thomas said.

“Our first goal is to be able to reliably measure them so we can actually say definitively whether they have crossed membranes into the body.”

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The article was published by AAP and republished in The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and more.