Review paper by Imptox scientists presents clear evidence of microplastics in our food
The International Journal of Food Contamination recently published a scoping review by Imptox scientists on microplastics in food, their health effects, occurrence, and human exposure.
Scientists conduct scoping reviews to get a better understanding of the amount and scope of evidence available on a particular topic. In this case, Imptox researchers from the University of Belgrade, Sciensano, and Ghent University have done so to find out how much is known so far on the health effects of ingested microplastics, the level of microplastic (MP) contamination in various foods, and human exposure to MPs through food. Most of all the plastic material ever produced on Earth is today available in the form of waste. A simple plastic water bottle may fulfill its purpose in a single day, but then stick around for another 400 years and degrade into tiny pieces of microplastics that find their way into our body through the food chain.
Their review indicates that “there is undeniable evidence that MPs are present in our food”, while “the true amount of MP humans may be exposed to via food still cannot be assessed with certainty as many data gaps in MPs research exists”.
Imptox is one of five projects in the European research cluster to understand the health impacts of micro- and nanoplastics (CUSP) trying to shed light on this phenomenon which is still little understood and requires our attention.
Imptox scientists and contributing authors: Bozidar Udovicki, Mirjana Andjelkovic, Tanja Cirkovic‑Velickovic and Andreja Rajkovic
International Journal of Food Contamination (2022) 9:7
With most of the plastics ever produced now being waste, slowly degrading and fragmenting in the environment, microplastics (MPs) have become an emerging concern regarding their presence in food and influence on human health. While many studies on marine ecotoxicology and the occurrence of MPs in fish and shellfish exist, research on the occurrence of MPs in other foods and their effect on human health is still in early-stage, but the attention is increasing. This review aimed to provide relevant information on the possible health effect of ingested MPs, the occurrence, and levels of MPs contamination in various foods and estimated exposure to MPs through food. Potential toxic consequences from exposure to MPs through food can arise from MPs themselves, diffused monomers and additives but also from sorbed contaminants or microorganisms that colonise MPs. Recent publications have confirmed widespread contamination of our food with MPs including basic and life-essential constituents such as water and salt providing the basis for chronic exposure. Available exposure assessments indicate that we ingest up to several hundred thousand MPs particles yearly.