JRC Symposium compares microplastic analysis methods

Excerpt: European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) Symposium summarizes current approaches for microplastic monitoring; research institutions present results of 4 inter-laboratory microplastic analysis comparison studies; no ‘one-size-fits-all’ analytical method, presenters emphasize need for harmonization; Commission outlines policy needs

New Zealand symposium on food safety

First session of the New Zealand Food Safety Science & Research Centre annual symposium is a webinar on chemical contaminants in food; presentation on New Zealand-wide project to study impacts of microplastics on human health and natural resources; new project developing guidelines to help food industry navigate the use of food packaging containing recycled material

Study finds microplastics induce reproductive toxicity in male mice

Study investigates reproductive toxicity of environmental concentrations of polystyrene (PS) microplastics to male mice; further examines underlying molecular mechanism; study is first to find long-term PS microplastic exposure affects sperm quality and testosterone levels in mice

Second study finds microplastics in human placenta

Clinical study investigates 10 microplastic types in human placenta and meconium; detects polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, and polyurethane in the samples; highlights that evaluation and control of potential contamination is crucial

Reviews on effects of micro- and nanoplastics in vitro and in vivo

Literature reviews summarize in vitro and in vivo studies on micro- and nanoplastics; report on various exposure and adsorption pathways and toxic effects of plastic particles; human health impacts to be evaluated under realistic exposure scenarios

Review summarizes microplastic exposures to humans

Peer-reviewed article summarizes occurrence, source, and characterization of microplastics in food and beverages; reports highly variable concentrations within and between food categories; identifies water bodies, packaging, and food handling as source of microplastic contamination

New Horizon 2020 projects to research impacts of micro- and nanoplastics

CUSP cluster launches with five research projects supported by €30 million in EU funding; aims to investigate complex relationships between micro- and nanoplastics and human health over the next five years; Food Packaging Forum collaborates within the AURORA project focused on early-life health

Food packaging identified as primary source of aquatic litter

Nature Sustainability publishes research integrating litter inventories from seven aquatic environments around the globe; finds food packaging makes up the largest share of litter in all aquatic environments (50-88%), except the open ocean; of 112 litter types, 10 make up 75% of litter; top 4 items come from food packaging (44% of total): plastic bags, plastic bottles, food containers, cutlery, and wrappers

Migration of chemicals and microplastics from microwavable plastics

Scientists analyze migration of chemicals and microplastics from microwavable food containers; identify dozens of intentionally and non-intentionally added substances and up to over one million microplastics per liter in food simulants; migration partly exceeds Cramer class-based recommendations

Review finds plastic pollution qualifies as planetary boundary threat

Review in Environmental Science and Technology presents evidence that plastic pollution fulfills all three criteria necessary for consideration as a planetary boundary threat: global exposure, not easily reversible, creating hazards disrupting earth system processes; suggests research priorities to find extent of planetary boundary but states risk that “boundary threshold for environmental plastics could be crossed before it is known”