What is Plasticosis?

9 March 2023.

Introduction: Scientists from Australia and the UK have discovered a new fibrotic disease called “Plasticosis” in birds. This disease is caused by the consumption of plastics, which leads to long-term inflammation and the formation of scar tissue in the digestive system of birds. The study noted that the birds had consumed some 12.5% of their body weight in plastics.

A Study on Plasticosis

The study found that plastic consumption can cause serious damage to the digestive system of birds, making them more vulnerable to infections and parasites, and affecting their ability to digest food and absorb some vitamins. Plasticosis can lead to the gradual breakdown of important glands in the proventriculus, which can have severe consequences for the health of birds.

What is plasticosis?

When birds consume plastics, tiny shards get lodged in the digestive tracts of the birds. Slowly, the connective tissue replaces the parenchymal tissue. The rate of replacement proliferates rapidly. This leads to tissue remodelling. Eventually permanent scaring occurs in the tissue. According to the researchers, the number of plastics ingested by birds and animals is higher than those ingested by humans.

Plastiscosis may lead to the breakdown of the tubular glands. Eventually, the birds will lose their immunity to fight against the parasites.

Why the name Plasticosis?

The disease is similar to the other fibrotic diseases like silicosis and asbestosis. Silicosis occurs in the lungs due to the long-term inhaling of silica dust. Asbestosis is also a lung disease that is caused due to the breathing of asbestos particles. While plasticosis was reported in birds, silicosis and asbestosis were reported in humans.

What caused Plasticosis?

It was caused because of microplastics. The microplastics are of the size of 1 mm to 5 mm. They can enter the bloodstream easily and accumulate in organs. When they break into nanoplastics, they can pass through the cell membranes causing havoc in their day-to-day functions.

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