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Initiative stimulating translational research and improving the understanding of the impact of micro-plastics on human health

Background

The knowledge about the origin, distribution and consequences of micro-plastics in the environment and in organisms is still very incomplete. More specifically, there is still no validated methodology to detect micro-plastics in foods or beverages. Latest results support the need to further investigate the impacts of micro-plastics on human health.

Objectives

An expert panel will consolidate the current state of the art in dietary micro-plastics analysis. It will provide suggestions to further develop the methods towards a harmonised analytical methodology. The aim is to also address relevant health concerns associated with the effects of dietary micro-plastics on consumer health. Thus, the panel will:

  • Support the harmonisation of approaches and methods to assess micro-plastics in food through research and validation recommendations.
  • Review existing data (incl. data transfer and interpretation of other particle research fields) to support the health risk assessment of micro-plastic particles.
  • Support standardizing organisations in approaches to stimulate comparative research on micro-plastics. A stakeholder support group will contribute to this.

Upcoming

The activity is divided in 4 working packages (see figure in the next page) with the aims of contributing with and through:

  • A report on the identification of a working definition of ‘micro-plastics’.
  • Conceptualizing a cross-discipline workshop that will result in guidelines for harmonisation of analytical approaches for dietary micro-plastics.
  • An outreach event, informative web-seminar to provide science-based information on some of the public health concerns related to dietary microplastics.
  • Collaboration with producers and providers of relevant materials in a work package led by the Joint Research Center to establish a materials repository for micro-plastics.

Expected Results

This activity is expected to:

  • Catalyse the transfer of knowhow and insights with the contributions of experts on micro-plastics analysis, from both food-science and other research fields; help improve the public understanding of micro-plastics’ impact on human health.
  • Expand the collaboration between producers, standardisation developers, public and research organisations. This close collaboration will stimulate the transferability and comparability of future research in the field.

For more detailed information, please contact Nevena Hristozovar at nhristozova@ilsieurope.be

Task Force Members

Observers