UNAIR NEWS – UNAIR Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (FKH) lecturer, Lita Rakhma Yustinasari, drh., M.Vet., responded to the phenomenon of plastic being intentionally added to food. With his research, it turned out that consuming plastic is harmful to the small intestine. “Exposure to polypropylene plastic residues can cause small intestine damage in form of desquamation to erosion of epithelial layer and increase infiltration of inflammatory cells,” she said.
In Indonesia, plastic is often added to fried food to produce long-last crispiness in fried food. Based on her research, there are at least four types of plastic compounds found in various fried foods in Padang.”These compounds are dangerous because cannot be broken down by enzymes, causing serious irritation,” she said.
She explained that human body will respond to plastic compounds when it enters the body. “The body will mobilize elements of its immune system against foreign objects and microorganisms that enter the body or damaged tissue,” she explained.
Lita continued, microplastics will accumulate in the liver, kidneys, and intestines. Moreover, it can trigger an increase of molecules that may be toxic to the brain. “Plastic microparticles will be absorbed by the body as foreign substances, causing damage to the epithelial lining of the small intestine and stimulating inflammatory cells in the intestinal villi,” she explained.
Even worse, she continued, fried food in cooking oil containing polypropylene plastic will produce benzene.”Benzene is dangerous because it can cause several acute and chronic diseases if it enters the body,”
Although the body needs benzene as a metabolism, benzene can trigger the formation of free radical reactions that are harmful to the body. The formation of free radical reactions can cause stress on the mitochondria and directly damage molecular targets, such as DNA, lipids and proteins. So it disrupts cell metabolism and triggers irritation, if it occurs in a long time can cause apoptosis. (*)
Author: Erika Eight Novanty
Editor: Nuri Hermawan
L. Rakhma Yustinasari, et al. (2019). Effect of Polypropylene Plastic Residue on Histopathological Changes of the Small Intestine in Rattus Norvegicus. Indian Vet. J., 96 (07) : 43 – 45
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