Micro- and nanoplastics (MNPs) are everywhere in the environment and are part of our daily lives. They are in the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe, yet we do not know how dangerous they are to human health. This is investigated in the Horizon 2020 European project Imptox, launched on 1 April 2021: An innovative analytical platform to investigate the effect and toxicity of micro- and nanoplastics (MNPs) combined with environmental contaminants on the risk of allergic diseases in preclinical and clinical studies. Sciensano and 11 other partners from 8 different European countries are working together to investigate the complex role of micro- and nanoplastics in combination with environmental contaminants on food safety and human health, focusing on allergy and asthma.
The objectives of the project are
- to determine the types and quantities of MNPs in specific environments
- to identify the sorts of contaminants that attach to them
- to evaluate where MNPs end up in our bodies after inhalation and ingestion
These results help us to understand the effects of microplastics on human health and provide crucial knowledge for legislators.
Within this project, Sciensano plays an important role in the risk assessment of micro and nanoplastics. “Imptox uses a comprehensive risk assessment approach to evaluate micro and nanoplastics and their combined exposure with allergens and MNPs loaded with microorganisms and contaminants,” says risk assessment scientist Dr Mirjana Andeljekovic of Sciensano.