ITV investigation finds plastic in journalist’s urine

ITV’s Tonight programme has revealed the shocking realities of plastic contamination, with journalist Lucy Siegle finding toxic chemicals bisphenol A and phthalates in her urine samples.

Lucy Siegle, ITV Plastic: The Unseen Truth
Lucy Siegle, ITV Plastic: The Unseen Truth

Image: ITV

Journalist Lucy Siegle found evidence of harmful chemicals in her urine

Imogen Benson

An investigation by ITV’s Tonight programme has discovered evidence of toxic plastic chemicals in the urine of journalist Lucy Siegle.

Broadcast last night (24 October), ITV’s ‘Plastic: The Unseen Truth’ revealed the true extent of plastic contamination, with Siegle travelling to the Netherlands to test her urine for the presence of harmful chemicals. 

Annelies Den Boer, Chairperson of the Tegengif Foundation, found evidence of bisphenol A and phthalates – toxic chemicals used in plastic products – in Siegle’s samples. 

These substances, which are both known to impact fertility, are on the European Chemicals Agency’s high concerns list. 

Similar chemicals were found in the urine of journalist Liz Bonnin just days ago at the Plastic Health Summit in Amsterdam. 

During the summit, researchers from the University of Utrecht presented new findings on the harmful impact of plastics. According to their research, microplastics – plastics less than five millimetres in length – have the potential to damage human immune cells, as their study found that cells that encountered microplastics died around three times more quickly than those that don’t. 

Dr Nienke Vrisekoop, Assistant Professor at University Medical Centre Utrecht, explained: “We’ve been looking at what the effect is of microplastics on immune cells, and we see that under certain circumstances the bigger microplastics cause faster cell death of the immune cells.”

The impact of plastic pollution on the environment and human health has been a near constant presence in the public eye in recent times, with huge public support for action on the consumption and disposal of the ubiquitous material.

Calling for urgent action against the harmful impacts of plastic pollution, Sian Sutherland, Co-Founder of campaign group A Plastic Planet, said: “How many more studies do we need to make our political leaders realise the truth about what plastic is doing to our bodies?

“Plastic is in our urine, it’s in our blood and now we know it is potentially harming our immune health too. For our politicians to do nothing while knowing this is profoundly irresponsible and reckless.

“We’re today calling for urgent legislative change to protect us and our children from the toxic effects of plastic.”