Recent research has revealed that the number of microplastic particles in our lungs is now up to 71,000 per day.

The total was 100 times higher than expected – posing a potential health threat that could rank alongside asbestos or tobacco, experts said.

The pioneering study used highly sensitive equipment to count tiny particles less than 10 microns in size – just a tenth of the width of a human hair.

Because her carpet, bedding and soft toys all were made of synthetic material, the highest concentration occurred in the bedroom of an 8-year-old girl.

Anoop Chauhan is a Portsmouth Hospitals Trust respiratory specialist who said that microplastics are dangerous as they don’t break down.

‘Having these particles in your body can cause stress and changes in metabolism, it can affect immunity, the ability to fight infections, it can affect your reproductive capacity and potentially it could be carcinogenic – causing cancer,’ he said.

Good Morning Britain's Michelle Morrison and her daughter Millie. Mrs Morrison found three quarters of her wardrobe contained plastics such as polyester and nylon

Good Morning Britain’s Michelle Morrison, and Millie Morrison, their daughter. According to Mrs Morrison, three quarters her wardrobe consisted of nylon and polyester.

Dr Fay Couceiro, an environmental pollution expert who led the study, also took samples from the kitchen and another bedroom in the girl’s home.

She said: ‘I am astonished by the breathable levels of microplastics in each of our homes and more work on this absolutely must be done.’

Because they were only for 14 hours rather than a full day, she said that the amounts recorded may have been underestimated.

Studies in the past have shown that microplastic particles are present throughout the body. This includes the brain, stomach, and womb.

Canadian research in 2019 showed that people consume 74,000-121,000 pounds of water per year. Meanwhile, those who drink bottled waters take in 90,000.

However, indoor plastic pollution has been relatively overlooked.

Mrs Morrison's children Millie and Benji. The presenter said of the research: '‘I never dreamed the result would be that my young children and I are breathing in up to 7,000 microplastics each day'

Millie Morrison with her children Benji and Benji. The presenter said of the research: ‘‘I never dreamed the result would be that my young children and I are breathing in up to 7,000 microplastics each day’

The research was conducted by Dr Couceiro (a professor at Portsmouth University) at Michelle Morrison’s Beckenham home in Beckenham on October 12, along with her five-year old son Benji and daughter Millie.

Three quarters of Mrs Morrison’s wardrobe was made up plastics like nylon and polyester, according to her. To simulate typical children’s activity, her son and daughter were asked to playfight with soft toys.

According to the researchers, each member of their family could inhale anywhere from 2,000 to 7,000 microplastics daily.

Professor Chauhan, who was awarded an MBE for his work on Covid-19, said: ‘There are no health benefits to inhaling anything you don’t need.

‘Things in an occupational setting – asbestos, coal or cigarette smoke or anything you inhale – has dangers and microplastics are a hidden danger in people’s homes.

‘And this is the first study that highlights the level of these that we breathe in everyday life.’

According to him, microplastics don’t degrade and can cause cell damage or inflammation.

He added: ‘To date, the bulk of research has centred around pollutants outside of the home such as car emissions, but as this initiative proves, it’s essential we widen our focus on the dangers in our homes.’

Mrs Morrison said: ‘Like most families in the UK, I like to think we are doing our bit at home to reduce the use of plastics in our everyday lives so I was intrigued to take part in this world-first experiment.

‘I never dreamed the result would be that my young children and I are breathing in up to 7,000 microplastics each day. I really hope this research can help shine a light on such an important topic.’

Tory MP Alberto Costa, chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on microplastics, said: ‘I am shocked to read of the University of Portsmouth’s findings that large quantities of airborne microplastics are present in our homes.

‘Important research such as this must be carried out so we can better understand the potential harms microplastics can have not only to the environment but to human health.

Dr Fay Couceiro using the new MicroRamen technology to test for microplastic contamination

Microplastic contamination was tested using Dr Fay Couceiro’s new MicroRamen Technology


 What is microplastic?

You can find microplastics in many places, like synthetic clothing, packaging plastic and bags, make-up and paint and larger pieces that are broken down. Also you might find fragments of old car tyres. The diameter of microplastics is less than 5mm. Nanoplastics can be less than one tenth of a millimetre in diameter.

Are they located?

The nanoplastics can be easily carried in the air because they are tiny and light. You can find them in all kinds of foods and drinks, such as beer, wine, soda, salt, and seafood.

How do they get on?

Only 9 percent have been recycled out of nine billion tons plastic. The majority of plastic has been recycled or disposed off into the ocean, buried, or burnt.

They are they dangerous?

Human vital organs like the brain, womb, and lungs are becoming more vulnerable to microplastics. Although the science of microplastics is still in its infancy and not yet fully understood, it has been suggested that they could potentially worsen or cause respiratory problems. They have been detected in blood and the stomach. Research suggests that they could increase inflammation.

Are they able to handle dangerous chemicals?

The transport of pollutants and chemicals can be carried by plastic particles. They can be endocrine disrupting chemical, which may cause disruptions in fertility, delayed brain development in children, immune disorders and hormone-related cancers.

“We are studying the impact microfibre plastics, which can be shed during textile laundry, have on rivers and oceans.

‘I am urging the Government to consider bringing forward legislation to ensure all new washing machines are fitted with microfibre catching filters and will be raising this in the House of Commons.’

Sian Sutherland, founder of the campaign group, A Plastic Planet, said: ‘If the plastic industry was a country, it would be the fifth biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world.

The researchers estimated the family were likely to each breathe in between 2,000 and 7,000 microplastics a day

According to the researchers, each member of the family could inhale anywhere from 2,000 to 7,000 microplastics daily. 

Cop26 did not include plastic. The last remaining fossil fuel industry is expected to triple in 2040.

‘For the health of our planet and our children, we must urgently turn off the plastic tap.’

Microplastics smaller than 10 microns can flotilla in the air, making it difficult to count.

Up to 28 plastic particles were found every minute in Millie’s bedroom compared with two a minute in the kitchen.

Through the Turn the Tide on Plastic campaign the Daily Mail fights plastic pollution, which poses a threat to marine life and humans. 

  • Watch Good Morning Britain’s exclusive microplastics investigation today from 6am on ITV and ITV Hub.