, , , ,

The Health Council: “Prevent health risks caused by micro and nanoplastics”

The Hague, 15 December 2016. The Health Council of the Netherlands recommends that the deputy Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment prevents possible exposure of people to micro and nanoplastics in the environment. Up to now government policy has been to reduce emissions of plastics into the environment. The Council also recommends making possible health risks posed by microplastics in the environment part of government policy, for many reasons including the fact that:

  • Micro and nanoplastics can end up in our food and drinking water
  • Micro and nanoplastics can be inhaled through the air
  • Little is known about the effect of microplastics in the human body
  • Nanoplastics can pass through the intestinal wall and the placenta
  • Toxic effects on the immune system are conceivable
  • Microplastics may serve as carriers for spreading disease.

The Health Council has not made any concrete recommendations for tightening current policy. At present there is too much uncertainty concerning health risks as a result of exposure to micro and nanoplastics. First more research and measurement methods are required. The Health Council considers it desirable for the “government and businesses to jointly seek solutions to reduce and prevent products and emissions of micro and nanoplastics at all stages of the life cycle.” At the same time, the Council believes it is paramount to draw attention to changing public behaviour, so that less plastic ends up in the environment.