Microplastic release from the degradation of polypropylene feeding bottles during infant formula preparation

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ABSTRACT - Polypropylene-based products are commonly used for food preparation and storage, but their capacity to release microplastics is poorly understood. We investigated the potential exposure of infants to microplastics from consuming formula prepared in polypropylene (PP) infant feeding bottles (IFBs). Here, we show that PP IFBs release microplastics with values as high as 16,200,000 particles per litre. Scenario studies showed that PP IFB sterilization and exposure to high-temperature water significantly increase microplastic release. A 21-d test of PP IFBs showed periodic fluctuations in microplastic release. To estimate the potential global exposure to infants up to 12 months old, we surveyed 48 regions, finding values ranging from 14,600–4,550,000 particles per capita per day, depending on the region. We demonstrate that infant exposure to microplastics is higher than was previously recognized due to the prevalence of PP-based products used in formula preparation and highlight an urgent need to assess whether exposure to microplastics at these levels poses a risk to infant health.

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