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UK to investigate human health impact of microplastics

November 14, 2016

UK to investigate human health impact of microplastics

Press Association
Monday 14 November 2016 09.11 GMT

The government is to conduct an investigation into the impact on human health of microplastic particles found in shellfish and other marine animals.

The study by the chief medical officer for England, Prof Dame Sally Davies, is to be carried out as part of a wider, year-long review of the health effects of pollution.

The move follows the announcement in September that the government is to ban the use of plastic microbeads in cosmetics and toiletries after the Commons environmental audit committee raised concerns about their effect on the marine environment.

In its official response to the committee’s findings, the government acknowledged there was “little evidence” available on the impact to human health of microplastics - defined as particles smaller than five millimetres.

It said that research had however shown high concentrations could cause physical harm to marine worms and microplastics could transfer along a “simple” food chain - such as from a mussel to a crab.

In its report, the committee said someone eating six oysters was likely to have consumed 50 particles of microplastics and that the human health impacts should be a “priority subject for research”.

Committee chairwoman, Mary Creagh, said: “It’s welcome news that the chief medical officer will investigate the impact of microplastics on human health.

Read more at The Guardian.

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