Health impacts of microplastics on humans

Microplastics come from different sources

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Health impacts of microplastics on humans

Microplastics come from different sources: they are found massively in products such as cosmetics, personal care and household products, in building materials, in industries and in agriculture. Often in cosmetics, microplastics make up up to 90% of the total weight of the product, as in the case of skin exfoliants.

Tire wear also produces microplastics. A large amount of microplastics is of home origin, such as those coming from the washing of synthetic garments, which are poured into water. Agriculture is also a producer of microplastics.

The sheets that are used to mulch disintegrate in the soil when at the end of the crop cycle they are not collected and disposed of properly. Left on the ground, plastics can degrade by abrasion, by atmospheric agents and by the action of insects or mammals.

Environmental health impacts of microplastics exposure on structural organization levels in the human body, is a study published on The Science of the total environment, which does a retrospective on the problem. Researchers explain: "The ubiquitous prevalence of microplastics pollution has raised concerns about microplastics' potential risks and impacts on the global environment.

However, the potential human health risks and impacts of microplastics remain largely unexplored. By providing an overview regarding the interaction of microplastics and human health, this review extends current knowledge on the potential impacts of microplastics pollution on humans from an environmental health perspective.

The paper firstly presents the characteristics of microplastics as well as the status of global microplastics pollution. As for human health, the potential hazards of microplastics are reflected by toxic chemical components, vectors of contaminants, and physical damage.

Extensive microplastic pollution on ecosystems due to human activities leads to inevitable human exposure, which may occur by dietary, inhalation and / or skin contact. Accordingly, microplastics exposure is closely associated with h human health.

This study explores the potential interactions of microplastics with the biological organization at various levels, including chemical, cellular, tissue, organ, and system levels. The review concludes by highlighting five urgent perspectives and implications for future research on microplastics: 1) Developing a standard terminology and research methods; 2) Reinforcing microplastics pollution governance; 3) Exploring innovative strategies and technologies; 4) Engaging the public and change behavior; and 5) Adopting a transdisciplinary approach."