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”

Study tracks mineral water microplastics from well to bottle

Recent publication in peer-reviewed journal Water measures microplastic content in well water at each stage of the bottling process to track microplastic sources; microplastics introduced at all steps of bottling process with greatest increase at capping

Nature News reviews research on micro- and nanoplastics

Feature article provides an overview of the current research surrounding the study of microplastics and nanoplastics, potential effects on human and environmental health, and concerns for the future

Scientists aspire to align UNEA terminology with plastics policy goals

Scientific opinion published in Environmental Science and Technology argues United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) should define terminology around plastic pollution; argues “marine plastic” label misleading; “pollution” a better term than “littler”, “debris”, or “waste”; microplastics should be considered together with macroplastics

Scientists comment on proposed polymer registration criteria

International Panel on Chemical Pollution (IPCP) publishes joint statement from scientists critiquing European Commission’s (EC) draft guidelines for polymer registration under REACH; statement asks for more inclusive criteria for polymers requiring registration (PRR), consideration of micro- and nano-plastic hazards; statement open for signatures

3RI publishes guidelines for corporate plastic stewardship

Reduce, Recover, Recycle (3R) Initiative and partners’ Guidelines for Corporate Plastic Stewardship aims to guide companies’ transition toward circular plastics supply chain; outlines pathways to three commitments of increasing ambition: net zero plastic leakage, 100% recycled at end-of-life, and net circular plastic; includes example case study