Plastic is not only a serious threat to the environment, but perhaps also to our health. We eat, drink and breathe plastic, allowing tiny particles of plastic to penetrate our body. We already know that the chemicals added to plastic can be slightly to very harmful to our body. There seems to be a connection with fertility problems, language development disorders, cancer, obesity and ADHD. But we cannot say this for sure. Therefore: how dangerous is plastic? What are the possible consequences for our health?
We are seriously concerned.
For this reason, the Plastic Soup Foundation, together with leading scientists, frontrunners and changemakers, has taken the initiative to create a new alliance: The Plastic Health Coalition. In this coalition various national and international environmental and research organisations have joined forces, all dealing with the effects of (micro)plastics on our health. This way we want to achieve that more scientific research into the effects of plastic on our health is initiated as soon as possible. We also want to see what we can actually do to prevent plastic ending up in our bodies and to find possible solutions.
One of the first projects is to stimulate scientific research. ZonMw, the organisation for health research in the Netherlands, has given researchers the opportunity to submit research proposals. On the 22th of March 2019, scientists working on 15 ground-breaking projects have been given the green light. Thanks to funding by NWO, the Netherlands organisation for scientific research, the Gieskes-Strijbis Fund and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, they can start important research into the effects of micro-and nanoplastics on our health. Worldwide, this has not been done before.
All research projects focus on a number of important questions:
– how can plastic particles penetrate the body?
– what is the role of size, shape and composition?
– do (harmful) microorganisms that attach themselves to plastics have an effect, and if so, where in the body could health effects occur?
On the website of the Plastic Health Coalition, the Plastic Soup Foundation will report everything that occurs in relation with plastic and health. So look herefor the latest news!
The international committee that has reviewed the research proposals, stresses that these 15 projects are only the beginning. A year is not long enough to find all the answers. The committee sees great potential in these projects and hopes that long-term follow-up studies will be made possible. Worldwide, the Netherlands has a leading position in scientific research into microplastics and, according to the committee, this should be further developed.
In addition, over the next three years the Plastic Soup Foundation, in collaboration with the Free University of Amsterdam (VU), will test everyday products for the presence of plastic and harmful substances that are added to plastic. Examples are: anti-wrinkle cream, lipstick, nail polish, bottled mineral water, microwave meals, and plastic tea bags. The results will be published in the Plastic Test Lab on the website of the Plastic Health Coalition.
Would you like to take action yourself, for example by reducing your own plastic footprint and making sure you ingest as little plastic as possible? Then start the Plastic Diettoday!
Amsterdam, 7 March 2019– Every day we inhale and ingest microplastics through the air that we breathe and the food that we eat. Do these microplastics then find their way to our brains or into the amniotic fluid of our unborn children? Do the particles affect our intestinal bacteria and lung cells? Or affect our immunity system? Countless questions about the possible health risks of plastic have not yet been answered. But this may change this year.
ZonMw, the Dutch organisation for health research, made known today that it is subsidising fifteen short research projects into the most burning questions. In total, with additional contributions by the NWO, the Gieskes-Strijbis Fonds and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, it will make an amount of 1.6 million euros available for this purpose.
As the communications partner, the Plastic Soup Foundation will publish the results on its new Plastic Health Platform.
Maria signs collaboration agreementmst met ZonMW
Scientific research into potentially dangerous consequences of microplastics and nanoplastics on the level of the cells in organs is still in the starting blocks. Because ever more alarm bells are ringing about the health risks of plastic, this new scientific research is more urgent than ever. With the ZonMw research, the Netherlands is positioning itself as one of the worldwide leaders.
Frank Pierik, Programme Manager ZonMw says “We are happy that the first projects in the Microplastics & Health programme can start. There is still very little known. This series of short projects will shed light and pave the way for more structured research into the health effects of microplastics.”
Maria Westerbos, Director of the Plastic Soup Foundation, adds to this. “We are proud that we have reached this stage. While we do not know for certain, plastic, and in particular microplastics and nanoplastics, are very likely to pose a health risk. Over the last few years we have worked behind the scenes to create The Plastic Health Coalitionto continually communicate and share the results of new research. We will make the findings of the ZonMw research known to the world and produce mini documentaries about them. These videos can eventually be viewed on our website and on the ZonMw’s website. Another part of The Plastic Health Coalition is the Plastic Test Lab. In addition to the ZonMw research, we will work with the Free University of Amsterdam to test if various products release microplastics and nanoplastics – just think about plastic teabags in hot water – and hormone disrupting additives such as plasticisers and flame retardants.”
https://www.plasticsoupfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Karl_Taylor_PlasticPollution1.jpg870011600Carina van Uffelenhttps://www.plasticsoupfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/PSFlogo_nieuw-PNG-300x142.pngCarina van Uffelen2019-03-07 12:55:272019-03-12 14:29:19ZonMw starts pioneering research into the health risks associated with plastic
Thanks to Dutch national hero Boyan Slat, we all know the truth these days: our oceans are full of plastic. Even in the Mariana Trench, a trough in the western Pacific Ocean, miniscule pieces of plastic still swirl around at a depth of almost seven miles. A long way away, was my initial reaction: but now it seems that our own North Sea is also a well-filled plastic soup and even the gentle River Maas carries raw plastic rubbish. Now I’m only waiting for the news that there’s plastic in the ground water under my feet. That will be the end of it, it can’t come any closer. I thought. I hoped.
Until somebody thrust a list under my nose. A list full of things that I use every day. Some of them made from plastic, others which I would never have dreamt contained plastic: tea bags, table salt, honey, beer…..
The Plastic Soup Foundation and the VU University Amsterdam will this year be researching what the effect is on our bodies. A question which had never occurred to me….
The test list includes the plastic kettle, and in my imagination I clearly remember the trusty, bubbling machine that brightened my kitchen for many years. Hundreds of pots of tea I made with that machine. My mind conjures up a memory of a convivial cloud of steam. The test will tell me whether or not I was swallowing tiny pieces of microplastic, hardening agent and flame retardant as I slurped my tea. Oops.
The test list contains more surprises. It’s probable that I am massaging poisonous plasticisers and nanoplastic particles in to my skin every day as I apply my super-soft day cream. Sunscreen, shower cream, shampoo, make-up: same story. I begin to feel a bit uncomfortable, and quickly pass over the question what the plasticizers that are apparently included in tampons may be doing to me…..
My house turns out to be full of plastics that the researchers want to investigate with regard to their effect on my health. Those handy bottles and containers in the kitchen. The sport clothes that make me feel so fit. The warm fleece blanket that I wrap myself in on the couch. My yoga mat for those quiet moments. The rug in front of the fire, the curtains, even the paint on the walls. Is a bit of all of those things now part of the inner me?
It’s hard to buy an apple any more that has not been made more attractive by the application of a shiny coating of plastic. To be safe, it will be tested for all kinds of undesirable substances: plasticisers and hardening agents, flame retardants, fluorides, micro- and nanoplastics. It’s known that these substances are in some way related to a lot of the typical ailments of our time, such as ADHD, dementia and Parkinson’s disease. I’m in two minds: do I really want to know?
In the end, it’s the inclusion of milk powder for babies on the list that really gets my attention. Even that contains tiny particles of plastic. So we are feeding on plastic, every day, starting from our earliest days. In that way, the soup is very close to home: it seems I may have my own plastic broth in my body.
I need to know more about that.
Translated from a Dutch-language column by Renske Postma
https://www.plasticsoupfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Column-De-plasticbouillon-in-mijn-lijf-fotobureau-de-Kracht-van-Beeld.jpg13332000Carina van Uffelenhttps://www.plasticsoupfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/PSFlogo_nieuw-PNG-300x142.pngCarina van Uffelen2019-02-26 13:56:452019-03-18 12:48:45The plastic broth in my body…
Start of scientific research into the health risks of microplastics: Does plastic make us sick?
Nieuwspoort, 22 March 2019 – Today, ZonMw, the Dutch organisation for health research and healthcare innovation, will launch fifteen unique research projects into the effects of micro- and nanoplastics on our health. This is the first scientific program in the world on this subject. A total of 1.6 million euros is being invested in the research projects.
Professor Dick Vethaak of Deltares, involved in four of the fifteen research projects, explains: “Microplastics spread easily via water and wind, resulting in a worldwide problem; they are present everywhere in our environment like a kind of grey mist.
We are constantly exposed to small plastic particles via our food, drink or through breathing. What this means for our health, however, cannot yet be properly estimated. There are strong indications of possible health risks, but there are also many uncertainties and knowledge gaps.”
Vethaak continues: “I am therefore delighted with this initiative from ZonMw and the involvement of the Plastic Soup Foundation. This is an initial exploratory study in which experts from various disciplines and sectors will work together. In particular, the collaboration between environmental scientists and medical specialists will be strong and unique. The Netherlands is taking the lead worldwide. I therefore have high expectations!”
The projects, which run for one year, address important questions such as:
How can microplastics enter our bodies?
What role does size, shape and composition play in this?
Could plastic in the environment be a source of diseases and infections since certain bacteria seem to thrive on plastic?
Can our immune system cope with plastic, or are we more likely to suffer inflammation and infections because of it?
How deep does microplastic penetrate into our bodies? Does it affect our brains? Is it harmful to unborn children?
Dr. Heather Leslie of the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam and involved in three of the projects, says: “If plastic particles can lead to chronic inflammation, that could mean the first step towards a whole series of chronic diseases. That is why we urgently need to investigate how many plastic particles from our consumer society penetrate the human body.”
The first interim results will be presented on 3 October, during a Plastic & Health conference in Amsterdam.
Just the beginning
ZonMw emphasises that the funding of these fifteen projects is only the beginning. One year is not long enough to obtain all the answers. Henk Smid, director of ZonMw, sees great potential in these studies and so also hopes that further long-term investigations will be possible. “The Netherlands has a leading position worldwide in scientific research into microplastics and this should be further expanded as quickly as possible.”
Plastic Health Coalition
Communication on the various pilot projects and possible (interim) results will be done by The Plastic Health Coalition – an initiative of the Plastic Soup Foundation. Working together in this coalition are various national and international environmental and research organisations which are concerned about or concerned with the effects of (micro) plastic on our health.
Plastic Test Lab
In addition to the 15 research projects, the first results of the Plastic Test Lab are also being presented today, a collaboration between the Plastic Soup Foundation and the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam.
Maria Westerbos, director of the Plastic Soup Foundation: “We have had three cosmetics products tested for the presence of plastic particles and the results are alarming. The absolute disillusion is the anti-wrinkle day cream from Olaz. In one 50 ml jar the VU found no less than 1.5 million plastic particles. Every time I use this product, I therefore close the wrinkles on my face with 90,000 particles. In addition, HEMA lipstick No.06 is made of plastic, and so is the Essie glitter nail polish from L’Oréal.”
Westerbos continues: “Tests such as these fit seamlessly with the fifteen research projects of ZonMw. This gives us more insight into how microplastics can enter our body unimpeded and unintentionally.”
https://www.plasticsoupfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/baby-vierkant.png10001333Carina van Uffelenhttps://www.plasticsoupfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/PSFlogo_nieuw-PNG-300x142.pngCarina van Uffelen2019-02-22 13:45:442019-03-22 14:05:24Scientific research into health risks of microplastics: Does plastic make us sick?
Just one month ago, in an effort to inform people and encourage the reconsideration of our dependence on disposable plastic, we launched the Plastic Health Coalition, a platform for the collection and dissemination of knowledge regarding plastics and human health. Since then, our coalition of 8 partners has already welcomed 2 more organizations in our fight against the plastic soup; the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) and Just One Ocean.
The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is the leading non-profit organization which addresses how the environment affects human health in Europe and beyond. It works to shape laws and initiatives that promote planetary and human health to protect those most affected by pollution and prevent diseases. Achieving a non-toxic circular economy, in which human exposure to toxic chemicals is minimized and the protection of our environment is prioritized, is the driver of HEAL’s policy and campaign work and a natural reason for joining the Plastic Health Coalition. Recent examples of HEAL’s work on toxics in relation to plastics include the 2018 join report Toxic Loophole, which exposed that recycled plastics in consumer products across Europe are contaminated with brominated flame retardants. HEAL’s membership base consists of more than 70 member-organizations worldwide, including international, European, national, and local groups of health professionals, nonprofit health insurers, patients, citizens, women, youth, and environmental experts, which represent over 200 million people across 53 countries.
Just One Ocean is similarly passionate about its mission, which focuses on the conservation of our oceans vis-a-vis a wide range of dangers, including plastic pollution. It works alongside other NGOs, governments, businesses, industry, and local communities to discover and develop solutions to the many diverse problems the oceans are facing, and believes that public engagement is one of the most important tools which can be used protect our blue planet. Founded by the diver and underwater photographer David Jones in 2014, the organization has been accepted as a member of the European Citizen Science Association and counts on the participation of individuals, governments, NGOs, businesses, and academic institutions to contribute to possible solutions.
We believe that both HEAL and Just One Ocean have dynamic strengths to share with the Plastic Health Coalition and are proud to include them as two invaluable partners in the fight for a healthier planet, and by extension, healthier people. Together, we can save the ocean and save ourselves.
https://www.plasticsoupfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/sencer-b-yilmaz-381220-unsplash.jpg29763968Plastic Soup Foundationhttps://www.plasticsoupfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/PSFlogo_nieuw-PNG-300x142.pngPlastic Soup Foundation2019-01-23 13:59:062019-01-23 13:59:56Announcement: The Plastic Health Coalition gains two new strategic partners
Amsterdam, 17 January 2019 – We all consume too much plastic. Literally. There is plastic in the food we eat, the water we drink and even the air we breathe. Unfortunately, what most people don’t realize is that when plastic enters our body it can make us sick. The chemicals in plastic and plastic particles may cause cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, arthritis, impotency and even harm babies in the womb.
According to the EU, each year an average European citizen creates about 31 kgs. of single-use plastic waste. The current overconsumption of plastic must be reduced — not by banning all plastics, but by going on a ‘plastic diet’. We all need to go on a ‘plastic diet’: companies, retailers, governments, and individuals alike. For this reason, the Plastic Soup Foundation has developed the Ultimate Plastic Diet.
A sustainable alternative to plastic bags for fruits and vegetables.
The diet revolves around tackling the concerns about plastic affecting human health, avoiding leakage of plastic into the environment and aiming for absolute reduction of plastic production.
But, how does it work? We have divided the ‘plastic diet’ into six different areas: bathroom, kitchen, travel, leisure, household and garden. In each of these categories there are a list of avoidable plastics as well as an alternative to them. This diet is for everybody who wants to make a difference in their plastic consumption, from the absolute beginners to the eco-heads out there.
We understand that a strict plastic diet is very difficult and impractical to follow. Everyday plastics like those found in your car, your phone, or your laptop are unavoidable. This diet provides you with tools to make a difference, starting with reducing the single-use plastics in your daily life. We do not advise you to throw away the long-term use plastic items you have around your household because they can last for long; but we do advise you to always ask yourself one question whenever you want to buy something new: is there a plastic-free alternative for this?
That’s why we want to make this diet easy, by walking hand in hand with you to help you reduce your overall plastic footprint. One item at a time.
Amsterdam, 20 December 2018– Australian researchers recommend not to reuse plastic bottles, that, filled with water, are sold in supermarkets,
Professor Anas Ghadouani and his team at the University of Western Australia in Perth have tested metal and plastic water bottles. The immediate cause was that more and more people refill purchased bottles with tap water for environmental reasons; it means that you do not need to buy a bottle again and again. But how harmful is this refilling plastic bottles for your health?
According to Ghadouani glass and metal bottles are safest, especially bottles made from stainless steel. They are followed by the plastic bottles that are specially made to be reused, such as for instance a Dopper. The professor says that in general it is wise not to do this longer than one year.
Refilling PET bottles is nothing short of the worst option, as there will always be plastic particles in the water. Especially when you place such a bottle in the sun, many microplastics are released.
https://www.plasticsoupfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/kraanwater-naast-bronwater.jpg427613Carina van Uffelenhttps://www.plasticsoupfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/PSFlogo_nieuw-PNG-300x142.pngCarina van Uffelen2018-12-20 13:31:302018-12-20 13:32:03“Do not reuse supermarket water bottles”
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