Managing the analytical challenges related to micro- and nanoplastics in the environment and food: filling the knowledge gaps

Type Article
Date 2020-01
Language English
Author(s) Alexy Pavol1, Anklam Elke2, Emans Ton4, Furfari Antonino4, Galgani FrancoisORCID3, Hanke Georg2, Koelmans Albert5, Pant Rana2, Saveyn Hans6, Sokull Kluettgen Birgit2
Affiliation(s) 1 : Faculty of Chemical and Food Technology, Slovak University of Technology, Bratislava, Slovakia
2 : European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Ispra, Italy
3 : French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea (IFREMER), Bastia, France
4 : Plastics Recyclers Europe, Brussels, Belgium
5 : Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management Group, Wageningen University & amp; Research, Wageningen, The Netherlands
6 : European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Sevilla, Spain
Source Food Additives And Contaminants Part A-chemistry Analysis Control Exposure & Risk Assessment (1944-0049) (Informa UK Limited), 2020-01 , Vol. 37 , N. 1 , P. 1-10
DOI 10.1080/19440049.2019.1673905
WOS© Times Cited 6
Keyword(s) Plastic, microplastics, nanoplastics, marine litter, recycling, circular economy
Abstract

This paper identifies knowledge gaps on the sustainability and impacts of plastics and presents some recommendations from an expert group that met at a special seminar organised by the European Commission at the end of 2018. The benefits of plastics in society are unquestionable, but there is an urgent need to better manage their value chain. The recently adopted European Strategy for Plastics stressed the need to tackle the challenges related to plastics with a focus on plastic litter including microplastics. Microplastics have been detected mainly in the marine environment, but also in freshwater, soil and air. Based on today’s knowledge they may also be present in food products. Although nanoplastics have not yet been detected, it can be assumed that they are also present in the environment. This emerging issue presents challenges to better understand future research needs and the appropriate immediate actions to be taken to support the necessary societal and policy initiatives. It has become increasingly apparent that a broad and systematic approach is required to achieve sustainable actions and solutions along the entire supply chain. It is recognised that there is a pressing need for the monitoring of the environment and food globally. However, despite the number of research projects increasing, there is still a lack of suitable and validated analytical methods for detection and quantification of micro- and nanoplastics. There is also a lack of hazard and fate data which would allow for their risk assessment. Some priorities are identified in this paper to bridge the knowledge gaps for appropriate management of these challenges. At the same time it is acknowledged that there is a great complexity in the challenges that need to be tackled before a really comprehensive environmental assessment of plastics, covering their entire life cycle, will be possible.

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Alexy Pavol, Anklam Elke, Emans Ton, Furfari Antonino, Galgani Francois, Hanke Georg, Koelmans Albert, Pant Rana, Saveyn Hans, Sokull Kluettgen Birgit (2020). Managing the analytical challenges related to micro- and nanoplastics in the environment and food: filling the knowledge gaps. Food Additives And Contaminants Part A-chemistry Analysis Control Exposure & Risk Assessment, 37(1), 1-10. Publisher's official version : https://doi.org/10.1080/19440049.2019.1673905 , Open Access version : https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00588/70027/