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Microplastics: Facts, research and open questions

FAQ to the BfR of 5 June 2019

Today, plastic is present almost everywhere in the human environment. The global production of plastics is growing and more and more plastics and microplastics are being released into the environment. This has been known for a long time, especially in regard to aquatic ecosystems. Humans can absorb microplastics, for example, through the air, drinking water, food, dust, and cosmetics.

Microplastics are small plastic particles and fibres. Size specifications for microplastics are not uniformly defined in literature and usual vary between 0.0001 millimetres (mm) and less than 5 mm. Since plastic in the environment breaks down very slowly, it can be assumed that it will continue to accumulate there. The public and scientific communities are currently discussing a possible health hazard to consumers from the possible entry of microplastics into the food chain. It cannot be assumed that plastic particles in food pose health risks for humans based on the current knowledge.

The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is also conducting research on microplastics and has answered frequently asked questions on this topic below.



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FAQ to the BfR
Microplastics: Facts, research and open questions 73.0 KB




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