A representative from the European Commission’s (EC) Directorate General for the Environment (DG ENV) has commented that the EU government has a larger plan to address microplastics stemming from both intentional and non-intentional sources. Chemical Watch reported on the update shared with attendees during a microplastics conference on October 23, 2020. The EC asked the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to submit a restriction proposal for intentionally added microplastics (FPF reported), however the spokesperson from DG ENV said during the event that “we are not just targeting intentionally added microplastics. We have a global plan to address all of them, and the restriction on the intentionally added ones is just a piece of the puzzle.” This includes initiating an impact assessment of microplastic emissions from non-intentional sources such as car tires, textiles, and manufacturing pellets “very soon.”
It has also been recognized that significant data gaps remain in understanding the toxicity of microplastics. In a recent conference focused on microplastics held by Die Akademie Fresenius, it was reported that experts from regulatory and academic institutions have called for more research into the mechanisms behind observed physiological effects caused by microplastics exposure as well as research on the toxicity of microplastics with more environmentally relevant shapes. Chemical additives that could be non-covalently bonded to microplastics and later leach out were also seen as a concern in need of further investigation.
Andrew Turley (October 29, 2020). “EU microplastics plan will address intentional and non-intentional sources.” Chemical Watch
Emma Davies (November 5, 2020). “European experts point to data gaps on microplastic toxicity.” Chemical Watch