Risk posed by microplastics: Scientific evidence and public perception

Ana I. Catarino, Johanna Kramm, Carolin Völker, Theodore B. Henry, Gert Everaert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Microplastic pollution has sparked interest from researchers, public, industries and regulators, due to reports of extensive microplastics presence in the environment, household dust, drinking water, and food that indicate chronic exposure to organisms within ecosystems and in human living spaces. While exposure to microplastics is evident, negative effects from microplastics appear to be minimal in most studies on biota and no risk assessments have been completed for microplastics on human health. Despite current evidence that indicates that microplastics present low risk to biota, there is public perception that microplastics are a serious environmental and human health risk, and this perception has motivated political action. The discrepancy between scientific evidence and public risk perception has generated debate amongst researchers within the natural and social sciences. Here, we review the evidence on the risks of microplastics to ecosystem and human health, and consider the relation between evidence and public perception of microplastics risk.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100467
JournalCurrent Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry
Early online date16 Feb 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Feb 2021

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