Hier finden Sie wissenschaftliche Publikationen aus den Fraunhofer-Instituten.

Assessment of Human Health Risks Posed by Nano-and Microplastics Is Currently Not Feasible

: Brachner, A.; Fragouli, D.; Duarte, I.F.; Farias, P.M.A.; Dembski, S.; Ghosh, M.; Barisic, I.; Zdzieblo, D.; Vanoirbeek, J.; Schwabl, P.; Neuhaus, W.

Volltext ()

International journal of environmental research and public health : IJERPH 17 (2020), Nr.23, Art. 8832, 10 S.
ISSN: 1661-7827
ISSN: 1660-4601
Zeitschriftenaufsatz, Elektronische Publikation
Fraunhofer ISC ()

The exposure of humans to nano-and microplastic particles (NMPs) is an issue recognized as a potential health hazard by scientists, authorities, politics, non-governmental organizations and the general public. The concentration of NMPs in the environment is increasing concomitantly with global plastic production and the usage of plastic materials. NMPs are detectable in numerous aquatic organisms and also in human samples, therefore necessitating a risk assessment of NMPs for human health. So far, a comprehensive risk assessment of NMPs is hampered by limited availability of appropriate reference materials, analytical obstacles and a lack of definitions and standardized study designs. Most studies conducted so far used polystyrene (PS) spheres as a matter of availability, although this polymer type accounts for only about 7% of total plastic production. Differently sized particles, different concentration and incubation times, and various biological models have been used, yielding hardly comparable data sets. Crucial physico-chemical properties of NMPs such as surface (charge, polarity, chemical reactivity), supplemented additives and adsorbed chemicals have been widely excluded from studies, although in particular the surface of NMPs determines the interaction with cellular membranes. In this manuscript we give an overview about the critical parameters which should be considered when performing risk assessments of NMPs, including novel reference materials, taking into account surface modifications (e.g., reflecting weathering processes), and the possible role of NMPs as a substrate and/or carrier for (pathogenic) microbes. Moreover, we make suggestions for biological model systems to evaluate immediate toxicity, long-term effects and the potential of NMPs to cross biological barriers. We are convinced that standardized reference materials and experimental parameters along with technical innovations in (nano)-particle sampling and analytics are a prerequisite for the successful realization of conclusive human health risk assessments of NMPs.