On August 25, 2016 the non-profit environmental organization Greenpeace UK published a new report entitled “Plastics in seafood,” compiling the latest academic research on marine microplastic pollution. The report focuses on the following issues regarding microplastics: 1) Ingestion by marine organisms and levels found in seafood, 2) accumulation in the food chain, 3) physical and chemical effects on marine organisms, 4) sorption and leaching of contaminants, and 5) impact on human health. Examples of contaminants associated with microplastics include bisphenol A (BPA, CAS 80-05-7), phthalates, nonlyphenol (CAS 104-40-5), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hyrocarbons (PAHs), and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT, CAS 50-29-3). Greenpeace notes that “the field of microplastics research is in its infancy” and recommends applying the precautionary principle until there are definitive answers as to the impacts of microplastics on the marine environment and human health. The organization thus urges the UK government to ban microbeads as a first step in tackling marine microplastic pollution. Greenpeace further lists a number of questions to be answered by future research, addressing for example “the extent of bioaccumulation of toxic contaminants from plastics in fish and shellfish tissue, particularly in organisms that are consumed by humans” as well as to what extent “microplastics cross membranes and cell walls in fish, shellfish and other organisms, including humans.”

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Greenpeace UK (August 25, 2016). “Greenpeace report identifies growing risk of plastic in seafood.


Greenpeace Research Laboratories (2016). “Plastics in seafood.(pdf)