On May 17, 2021, Chemosphere published a review article in which Anabel Gonzáles-Acedo and co-authors from the University of Granada, Spain, give an overview on the potential human health impacts of microplastics and nanoplastics based on evidence from in vitro and in vivo studies.
According to the scientists’ literature review, plastic particles induced inflammation, cytotoxic and genotoxic effects in different cell lines. In vivo studies with mussel, fish, and rat species demonstrated that micro- and nanoplastics can be absorbed and accumulated in different organs and systems in a size-dependent manner. Upon absorption through cell membranes, the plastic particles have been reported to alter normal cell functioning. As summarized in the article, this can result in “changes in microbiota and digestive enzyme production; inflammatory processes at respiratory level; circulatory and reproductive system disorders; and neurotoxicity, inducing behavioral changes.” The review makes clear that in vitro and in vivo uptake and effects of micro- and nanoplastics largely depend on particle size, surface charge, and concentration. The authors concluded that further research is needed to investigate potential human health implications at environmentally relevant particle concentrations and to determine how particle size and amounts influence these effects.
Gonzáles-Acedo et al. (2021). “Evidence from in vitro and in vivo studies on the potential health repercussions of micro- and nanoplastics.” Chemosphere (available online May 17, 2021).
This article was originally published by Lisa Zimmermann at the Food Packaging Forum. Photo courtesy of Oregon State University under a Creative Commons BY-SA 2.0 license.