Studies review human exposures and effects of micro- and nanoplastics

Three studies investigate micro- and nanoplastics – source, organ deposition, and reproductive effects; detect up to 240,000 plastic particles/L in bottled water with 90% being nanoplastics; find microplastics in human lung, intestine, and kidney tissues; polyethylene particles found to affect placental function in mice

Ultra-processed food intake can increase human exposure to phthalates and microplastics

Two studies analyzed ultra-processed foods for phthalates and microplastics; report that consumption of ultra-processed foods and fast food during pregnancy increases exposure to phthalates; link lower socioeconomic status to increased ultra-processed food consumption and phthalate exposure; find highly-processed protein products in the US to contain significantly more microplastics than minimally-processed products; hypothesize plastic processing equipment to be one main source

PFAS research snapshot Q4 2023: presence, migration, health concerns, and regrettable substitution

Scientists detect two per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in plastic food storage bags; study assesses PFAS in 119 single-use food packaging and tableware samples from around the world and detectes PFAS in 54%; two reviews raise awareness of PFAS impact on human liver health and safety issues connected with the PFAS substitutes – polyfluoroalkyl phosphate esters (PAPs); scientist calls for more research to assess combined environmental effect of microplastics and PFAS

Minderoo Foundation systematically maps human health effects from plastic-associated chemicals

Interactive and openly available, the Plastic Health Map summarizes human health outcomes of certain plastic-associated chemicals and particles as published by peer-review articles between 1960 and 2021; includes more than 3500 studies for 1557 chemicals; identifies gaps, including only 30% of chemicals have been investigated for health impacts, few studies in low-income countries

Two studies associate microplastic exposure with cancer

Review of occupational health studies finds workplace exposure to polyvinyl chloride (PVC) particles likely induces liver carcinogenicity; research study finds polystyrene nanoplastics to speed up ovarian cancer development in mice

Scientists detect microplastics in amniotic fluid, effects on testicular aging

Two studies investigate microplastic presence or effects in female and male reproductive organs; small cohort study finds low number of microplastics to be present in human amniotic fluid besides the placenta; in vitro and mice in vivo study reports microplastics induce premature testicular aging and identifies underlying pathways

Microplastics can lead to behavioral changes in mice

Scientists find polystyrene microplastics reduce cell viability, translocate in the body, modify mice behavior, and change their liver and brain immune markers after short-term exposure; effects potentially age-dependent; two reviews summarize nano- and microplastic impacts on fertility and potential implications

Researchers detect microplastics in human semen and heart

Four recent studies assess microplastics: in human semen, heart, from baby food containers, and suitability of in vitro models to investigate human health effects; find microplastics in six out of ten semen samples, find impacts on semen quality; samples from cardiac surgery patients contain microplastics in heart and surrounding tissue; billions of nano- and microplastics released from plastic baby food containers; outline challenges and recommendation of studying plastic particles in vitro

Nanoplastics affect gene expression in the placenta and reproductive health, scientists find

Study using perfused human placental tissue demonstrates polystyrene nanoplastics affect expression of inflammation and iron homeostasis-related genes; review summarizes that small plastic particles can enter reproductive organs and affect reproductive health, however further research needed to verify the results and assess mechanisms of reproductive toxicity

California considering stronger controls of microplastics

California Department of Toxic Substances Control proposes adding microplastics to its Candidate Chemicals List under the state’s Safer Consumer Products Program due to potential harmful impacts on human health and the environment; workshops for the public scheduled for June and July.