Risk assessment and toxicological research on micro- and nanoplastics after oral exposure via food products
Plastics are used ubiquitously and have become part of our everyday life. The global production of plastics is rising, which in consequence is leading to increasing amounts of plastics being released into the environment. Recently, the issue of human exposure to micro‐ and nanoplastic particles and potentially resulting toxicological consequences has been broached, triggered by the discovery of microplastics in foodstuff. In addition to dietary exposure via contaminated food and beverages, other exposure paths such as via air and cosmetics, have to be considered. Currently there is no legislation for microplastics and nanoplastics as contaminants in food. Substantial data gaps with respect to exposure as well as toxicity of such particles impede the risk assessment. Within this EU‐FORA fellowship project, a comprehensive data mining approach was followed, focusing on up‐to‐date knowledge on the occurrence and possible toxic effects associated with micro‐ and nanoplastics after oral exposure, especially via food products and beverages, in order to provide a basis for risk assessment and to identify important research gaps. The fellowship project was further complemented by practical work aimed at the determination of in vitro toxicity of micro‐sized polylactic acid particles.
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