Over the past 5 years  an increasing number of studies have reported the presence of micro- and nanoplastics in drinking water, air, food and soil. This raises questions and concerns about the impact of microplastics debris on human health. Nanoconsult has been contracted by ICCA to compose a white paper on the human health effects of microplastics by inhalation and oral intake. In collaboration with a consultant team from TG Ennvironment and Ramboll,  we plan interview a group of experts from academia, industry and regulatory bodies to understand their current need, the major open questions and their opinion on actions needed. Later this year (september 2020) this will be the basis of an expert workshop/symposium to discuss these findings. ICCA is international council of Chemical Associations and is the worldwide voice of chemical industry, with a section for chemical policy and health.

ICCA aims to conduct a scientific exploration of the presence and effects of microplastics in the environment as well as the impact on human health. The results of this effort will be shared independently of the outcomes,. The overall objective is to provide the fast movement of regulatory initiatives by generating reliable and reproducible data that are necessary to make robust decisions and scientifically sound conclusions.

For the purpose of the program, microplastic particles are defined as particles of various shapes not greater than 5 mm in each dimension. The lower size limit for the definition is considered to be 1 nm. By incorporating research on eco-/human/particle toxicology and an evaluation of the persistence of microplastic particles in the environment  a better understanding of the impact should be attained.

Paul J.A. Borm



WHO report Microplastics in drinking-water. Geneva, World Health Organization (2019) ISBN 978-92-4-151619-8

SAPEA, Science Advice for Policy by European Academies. (2019). A Scientific Perspective on Microplastics in Nature and Society.  Berlin: SAPEA.

Bucci K, Tulio M, Rochman CM (2019) What is known and unknown about the effects of plastic pollution: A meta-analysis and systematic review. Ecol Appl. 2019 Nov 23:e02044. doi: 10.1002/eap.2044.

Ogonowksi M, Gerdes Z, Gorokhova E (2018) What we know and what we think we know about microplastic effects- a critical perspective. Current opinion in Environmental Science & Health 1: 41-46.

Gouin T, Becker RA, Collot A-G et al (2019) Toward the development and application of an environmental risk assessment framework for Microplastic. Environ Toxicol & Chemistry 38: 2087- 2100.


The workshop will be connected as a satellite meeting one of the larger meetings on the Microplastic topics in 2020.