This policy informing brief will contain an overview of the state-of-the-science on the link between microplastics, the environment and human health. The current regulations and monitoring programs in the EU will be listed with a focus on relevant regulations for human and environmental health.
The existing literature will be thoroughly searched to provide an overview on the presence of microplastic pollution in the environment and linked individual health impact via different exposure pathways. Therefore, a detailed overview will be provided on the microplastic contamination in food and daily-use products. Moreover, a general health impact via environmental effects will also be considered, hereby focusing on adsorption of chemicals and biofilms linked to changes in bioavailability and a potential increase of antimicrobial resistance. The hitherto known effects of micro- and nanoplastics on human health will be discussed and summarized to pinpoint current knowledge gaps in scientific research. Finally, the brief will contain an overview on the most important analytical techniques for micro- and nanoplastics identification and characterization and some remarks on the complexity of identification such as the heterogeneity of plastics.