Plastics and Microplastics: Risks and Solutions
This EAS seminar improves on its first offering in 2021, more broadly covering plastics and solutions to the problems they create. It also covers human and environmental risks of both microplastics and nanoplastics. Plastic production is increasing exponentially; therefore, micro- and nanoplastic exposures and potential risks will continue to increase. There is global awareness and international agreements dealing with plastic pollution. Plastics and microplastics have become ubiquitous across the planet in air and water. Only recently, has microplastic science matured enough to accurately understand human and wildlife exposures and effects; with many earlier publications and regulatory actions misguided in terms of risk. Due to this reality, a large amount of misinformation has been circulated on microplastics, albeit in good faith. We will discuss risks to human health and ecosystems and promising solutions.
Government, industry, academia and non-profit organizations are actively engaging to address these issues via banning of single plastic use, improving sampling and analytical methods, understanding relative exposures, e.g., water (ambient and drinking), beverages, food/prey, air, soils, sediments; and effects of different types of particles (e.g., fibers, fragments, beads, and tire particles) and co-contaminants (e.g., PCBs, endocrine disruptors), environmental transport pathways and modeling, and how to better manage plastic pollution sources.