Hazard identification and Risk characterization – micro and nano plastics in food and feed
Micro- and nanoplastics are considered an emerging issue as environmental pollutants and a potential threat to human health. In 2016 EFSA published a statement on potential health risks of microplastics and nanoplastics. It was concluded that more information is needed on both the exposure and potential adverse effects in consumers. Raamsdonk et al. (2020) reviewed existing literature on this topic. Considering exposure, there are some data on concentrations in seafood (fish, bivalves and shrimps), water, sugar, salt and honey that confirm that consumers are exposed to these particles. There are also some recent studies on the uptake and effects of fluorescent polystyrene micro- and nanoplastics in mice and zebrafish with short- or medium-term exposure (up to 42 days), to relatively high numbers of particles. Where some studies suggest absorption of polystyrene particles with µm or nm size in the GI-tract, others could not confirm this. Similar was the case for potential effects. Some of the studies reported diverse effects on gut microbiota, lipid metabolism and oxidative stress. A thorough review and additional studies are required to further investigate these issues, including their relevance for current human exposure.