What we know

Scientific evidence and publications in leading scientific magazines are piling up: chemicals in plastic can cause cancer, heart failure, Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, arthritis, infertility and even damage unborn babies in the uterus.

Plastic is everywhere: plastic particles, nanoplastics and microplastics are in our food, in our drinks (tap water and bottles) and in the air we breathe. For example, tiny worn-down particles from car tires in the air and microfibres from synthetic clothing. Even cosmetics like lipstick, mascara, nail polish and anti-wrinkle cream contain plastic.

What is known so far about the adverse effects of plastic on human health is nothing short of alarming. Therefore, the Plastic Soup Foundation, together with scientists, has started the international platform ‘Plastics and the Human Health Connection’ to encourage new research. The Plastic Soup Foundation calls on businesses and Governments to start and fund much more scientific research. Time is running.

“It is necessary that we understand the extent to which toxic chemicals, plastics and global warming interact and damage human health”, says Susan Shaw, Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at New York State University. “This is the front line of contemporary science. Here science can contribute to sustainable living in the future.”

Heather Leslie, senior researcher at the Department of Environmental Health at Vrije University in Amsterdam, endorses the urgency: “the dangers of plastic particles to the human health are becoming increasingly clear through a series of studies. Plastic waste is a persistent problem faced by the ocean, but it is time that it is recognised as a health problem.”

To call attention to the health effects, the has Plastic Soup Foundation launched a new campaign on World Oceans Day, early June 2018. The main image of the campaign is the baby above, made of plastic waste from the ocean. The plastic baby symbolizes our children and grandchildren whom we will burden with our plastic waste problem, if we do not take firm action quickly. We are literally poisoning future generations.

Read our Position Paper “Plastic and Human Health: alarming evidence” for additional information and references to a series of scientific studies.

 

The scientists

Dr. Susan Shaw

Dr. Susan Shaw

Dr. Susan Shaw is founder and director of Shaw Institute and Professor of Environmental Health Sciences & at New York State University. She is a pioneer in research on ocean pollution, oil spills, plastics and climate change. She is known by, among other things, her diving as a researcher in the Gulf of Mexico shortly after the oil spill with the BP drilling rig Deepwater Horizon in 2010. She sees plastic pollution as the biggest oil spill in history.

Dr. Heather Leslie

Dr. Heather Leslie

Dr. Heather Leslie is a senior researcher at the Department of Environment and Health at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. She has specialized in litter, microplastics, circular economy, ecotoxicology, chemistry and policy for litter. She is co-author of many peer reviewed articles. Recently, she published research results on a new technique that detects and identifies micro plastics in the environment much faster than conventional methods.

Prof. Dick Vethaak

Prof. Dick Vethaak

As a biologist Prof. dr. Dick Vethaak has more than 30 years of experience in the field of ecotoxicology and research on water quality of river deltas and marine waters. He is Professor of Ecotoxicology at the Institute for Environmental Studies at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. His research interests include endocrine disruptors, nanoparticles, chemical mixtures and innovative technologies for monitoring and controlling pollution.

Publications

Plastic Soup Foundation on health effects

In the press: health effects and plastic

2017

27 December 2017. Boursorama. Quelles sont les applis qui analysent ce que vous consommez?

26 December 2017. El Espectador. Piden abandonar las bolsas de té para salvar el planeta.

13 December 2017. Business Day. Polyester could slip on banana peel of green fashion

31 October 2017. Comunica RSE. ONU Ambiente recomienda avanzar en un Tratado vinculante sobre la contaminación del plástico en océanos

26 October 2017. The Times. Prince Charles’s new clothes have a synthetic look

23 October 2017. Al Kalima Online. فريق فولفو ينافس في سباق المحيطات لرفع الوعي بشأن القضاء على البلاستيك الموجود في المحيطات (The Volvo team is competing in the ocean race to raise awareness about the elimination of plastics found in the oceans)

22 October 2017. Sunday Observer. TAP WATER ACROSS THE GLOBE CONTAINS PLASTIC- STUDY

21 October 2017. United Nations Environment Programme. Volvo Ocean Race crew set to sail against marine plastic #UNEnvironment

5 October 2017. Times of Malta. Why washing your clothes is poisoning the sea

24 September 2017. sundayobserver.lk. Tap water across the globe contains plastic-study  

21 September 2017. The Memo. Bright blockchain bank notes beam at the Lumen Prize 2017

21 September 2017. AN The Artists Information Company. 2017 Lumen Prize: interactive reflection on plastic pollution wins Gold Award

9 September 2017. Ecoportal.net. Alerta por microplásticos en aguas dulces. UNESCO prepara un informe

8 September 2017. earthisland.org. Tap Water Across the Globe Contains Plastic, Study Shows

6 September 2017. Comunica RSE. UNESCO prepara informe para alertar sobre el impacto de los microplásticos en los ríos y lagos

1 September 2017. Environmental Data Interactive Exchange. Plastic Soup Foundation: UK microbeads ban first step to implementing plastic circular economy

28 August 2017. FloralDaily. “Single-use plant tray is huge environmental problem”

11 August 2017. Blogarama. Microplastics Make Up 82% Of Plastic In Oceans. How You Can Make An Impact

28 July 2017. FORUM – Das Wochenmagazin. „Es geht um einen globalen Bewusstseinswandel“

24 July 2017. unric.org. Ouverture d’une exposition permanente sur la « soupe de plastique » au parc animalier Beekse Bergen.

5 July 2017. Vice Impact. You’ve Probably Eaten Tons of Cosmetic Product Plastic Without Knowing It

3 July 2017. Tn Sustentável. WWF-Brasil e Instituto Mar Adentro realizam mutirão de limpeza nas Ilhas Cagarras

8 June 2017. Suparyacht Technology. The Plastic Soup Problem and How Tech Can Help

20 May 2017. Coastal Blog. Plastic Microfibers: Recent Findings and Potential Solutions

18 May 2017. Resource. Corona sets out plan to protect 100 islands from marine plastics

17 May 2017. america-retail.com/sostenibilidad. Sostenibilidad: Encuentran rastros de fibra y plástico en el agua y los alimentos que consumimos. 

17 May 2017. Edie.net. Corona targets marine plastic waste through islands protection pledge. 

15 May 2017. The Independent.com. Will clothes companies do the right thing to reduce microfiber pollution?

15 May 2017. observador.pt. Microfibras poluentes que vão da nossa roupa até ao nosso prato.

15 May 2017.Comunicarseweb.com.ar. Encuentran rastros de fibra y plástico en el agua y los alimentos que consumimos.

13 May 2017. The Guardian.com. Will clothes companies do the right thing to reduce microfiber pollution?

13 May 2017. Equities.com. Will clothes companies do the right thing to reduce microfiber pollution?

13 May 2017. vastuullisuusuutiset.fi. Will clothes companies do the right thing to reduce microfiber pollution?

13 May 2017. Uk.news.yahoo.com.  Will clothes companies do the right thing to reduce microfiber pollution?

13 May 2017. Execreview.com.  Will clothes companies do the right thing to reduce microfiber pollution?

9 May 2017. hoholok.comPlastic particles via washing machine in food consumer.

9 May 2017. Napoli Magazine. PROGRAMMA – Città della Scienza celebra la Festa dell’Europa.

9 May 2017. NLtimes.nl. People consuming more microplastics daily:New study.

9 May 2017. Fakty.nl. W naszych posiłkach jest coraz więcej plastiku.

17 April 2017. Corresponsables.com. Campaña y aplicación móvil busca proteger los océanos.

13 April 2017. Bio-Based Economy. Bioplastics: end the confusion. 

3 April 2017. Blog de Assis Ramalho. WWF-Brasil lança websérie do Projeto Clean Up para conscientização sobre o plástico nos oceanos. 

24 March 2017. thestar.com.myTreating Nature as a person.

16 March 2017. assisramalho.com.brWWF-Brasil lança websérie do Projeto Clean Up para conscientização sobre o plástico nos oceanos. 

16 March 2017. edie.netGreenpeace slams ‘jaw-dropping’ inaction on marine pollution from soft drinks firms.

16 March 2017. plasticandrubberasia. Materials News: EU economy going full circle with bioplastics.

14 March 2017. Radioandmusic.com. Oliver Heldens will make a remarkable free dive to spread awareness against unclean oceans.

14 March 2017. magneticmag.comOliver Heldens will make a spectacular free dive to raise awareness for cleaner oceans.

14 March 2017. audiovideoproducer.digitalmedianet.comDJ Oliver Heldens Will Make a Spectacular Free Dive for Cleaner Oceans. 

14 March 2017. edmnations.comOliver Heldens will make a spectacular freedive for cleaner oceans!

14 March 2017. au.sys-con.comDJ Oliver Heldens Will Make a Spectacular Free Dive for Cleaner Oceans. 

1 March 2017. anda.jor.br. Microplástico: poluição invisível ameaça oceanos.

27 February 2017. Onortao.com. Microplástico: poluição invisível que ameaça oceanos.

25 February 2017. Invisible plastic particles from tyres and clothing are polluting our oceans.

24 February 2017. dw.comInvisible plastic particles from tyres and clothing are polluting our oceans.

17 February 2017. Huffpostbrasil.com. O seu esfoliante pode estar te fazendo mais mal do que você pensa. E te mostramos o porquê. 

17 February 2017. Surfrider Europe.eu. Beat the Microbead: Together agains plastic microbeads in cosmetics!

17 February 2017. Surfrider Europe.eu. Beat the Microbead: Mobilisons-nous contre les microbilles plastique dans les cosmétiques! 

15 February 2017. recyclinginternational.comThe ‘Kiss of Death’ movement against microplastics. 

30 january 2017. edie.net#OceanRescue: Sky drives engagement on ocean plastic waste through new social campaign. 

2016

5 December 2016. nlTimes.nl. Trash fished from Amsterdam canals now a city hall Christmas display.

18 November 2016. trueviralnews.com. This Interactive Mirror Shows How You’re Turning Into The Plastic We’re All Eating. 

17 November 2016. fastcoexist.com. This Interactive Mirror Shows How You’re Turning Into The Plastic We’re All Eating.

15 November 2016. edie.net. Adidas launches mass-produced ocean plastic trainers.

15 November 2016. designvid.cz. Plastic Reflectic je interaktivní instalace ukazující znečištění vod.

9 November 2016. freethoughtblogs. Thijs Biersteker: Plastic Reflectic.

8 November 2016. tourismobserver.blogspot.nl. BRAZIL: Guanabara Bay.

8 November 2016. squa.re. Plastic Reflectic is an interactive…

8 November 2016. tv.booooooom.com. Interactive Installation: “Plastic Reflectic” by Thijs Biersteker.

8 November 2016. urdesignmag.com. Plastic Reflectic kinetic installation by Thijs Biersteker. 

8 November 2016. waste360.com. Plastic Reflectic Turns Spectators’ Reflections into Silhouettes Made of Trash.

7 November 2016. notcot.org. Plastic Reflectic.

7 November 2016. creatorsproject.vice.com. An Interactive Installation Turns Its Spectators into Trash.

6 November 2016. Catalogodiseno.com. Plastic Reflectic, el llamado de Thijs Biersteker a la conciencia sobre los residuos en océanos.

2 November 2016. designboom.com. thijs biersteker’s plastic reflectic installation provokes a conscious response.

16 October 2016. thedailystar.net. Tiny plastic, huge risk.

16 October 2016. projetocolabora.com. O pesadelo da roupa limpa.

12 October 2016. hk01.com. 【美麗代價】調查指四成粉底、唇膏含微膠粒 危害海洋生態. 

29 September 2016. edie.net. Plastic Soup Foundation: UK microbeads ban first step to implementing plastic circular economy.

21 September 2016. resource.co. 750 deaths in 7 months prompt calls for an end to open dumpsites.

20 September 2016. Huffington Post. Fashion And Beauty: Polluting Our Oceans.

15 September 2016. zurnal24.si. V oceanih bo več plastike kot rib – onesnaževanje in nekritična raba.

15 September 2016. si21.com. Prihodnost brez onesnaževanja s plastiko: izziv za EU.

14 September 2016. motherearthnews.com. A vision of a future free from plastic pollution: the EU must rise to the challenge.

14 September 2016. zerowasteeurope.eu. A vision of a future free from plastic pollution: the EU must rise to the challenge.

14 September 2016. creativepresschallenge.nl. About PSF.

13 September 2016. www.aqua.org. Your Wardrobe, Brought to You by Plastics.

7 September 2016. brazilbusiness.einnews.com. Leading ocean advocacy groups join forces to tackle microfiber pollution.

7 September 2016. The Guardian. Leading ocean advocacy groups join forces to tackle microfiber pollution. 

4 September 2016. Plasticexpert.co.uk. What is Plastic Soup?

3 September 2016. Wavewatch.com.br. Surfing Medicine International reacende acao contra plasticos.

3 September 2016. Surfguru.com. Surfing Medicine International reacende acao contra plasticos.

1 September 2016. SIWI World Water Week Stockholm: Addressing emerging pollutants to achieve SDGs (watch the speech by Michiel Roscam Abbing from PSF: minute 47:00).

31 August 2016. Daily Mail. Microbeads aren’t just poisoning the planet – they can wreck your LOOKS: How the tiny particles can damage your teeth and ruin your skin.

30 August 2016. Press reader. Oceans taken over by plastic.

29 August 2016. Share-the-way.com. #surf #surfing Surfing Medicine International opens talk on plastics.

29 August 2016. Surfersvillage.com. Surfing Medicine International opens talk on plastics.

29 August 2016. Daily Mail. More plastic than fish ‘by 2050’.

29 August 2016. thisismoney.co.uk.  No10 acts on toxic beads: Ministers hold talks with green groups to ban plastic menace.

28 August 2016. www.silentspring.org. Surfers Village – Surfing Medicine International rekindles a call to action against plastics.

28 August 2016. Surfing Medicine International. NoPlasticsInMyBody Campaign

26 August 2016. Daily Mail. Ban the Beads: Theresa May is under pressure to ban toxic beads after Brussels says UK is free to act on plastic pollutants.

24 August 2016. BBC Radio London. Labour leadership, microbeads and HRT (0:38 – 0:46)

17 August 2016. Rootsimple.com. The problem with polar fleece: it’s in the ocean, it’s in sea creatures, it’s on our plates.

15 August 2016. Le Monde. JO 2016 – planche à voile : médailles françaises en eau trouble.

13 July 2016. m.gulfnews.com. How clothes are poisoning oceans and food supply.

12 July 2016. Star.com. Plastic waste in the sea might well end up on your dinner plate.

8 July 2016. fashionforum.dk. DAFI underskriver charter mod mikroplastik.

6 July 2016. Globalen.dk. Fleecetrøjer er et kæmpe problem for miljøet.

23 June 2016. ecosalon.com. Clothing Microfibers are Poising Marine Life, and We’re Next.

22 June 2016. Fusion.net. The plastic fibers in your clothes are piling up in nature, and may end up in your gut.

21 Jun 2016. dr.dk. Mikroplast: DBU er på vej med ordensregler for kunstgræsbaner.

21 June 2016. inthefreshair.wordpress.com. Life without Plastic: Small steps can make a big difference!

21 June 2016. outsideonline.com. Patagonia’s New Study Finds Fleece Jackets Are a Serious Pollutant.

20 June 2016. The Guardian. How your clothes are poisoning our oceans and food supply.

16 June 2016. Recycling.com. We are tied to the ocean.

8 June 2016. Plastic as the great unknown.

7 June 2016. Radio interview with PSF director Maria Westerbos on the Voice of Islam Radio:

7 June 2016. Sciencefocus.com. Drowning in plastic: can we solve the marine pollution problem?

6 June 2016. ecomedia.co.kr. Of fine plastic cosmetic industry jump off a raid.

2 June 2016. Refinery29.com. 5 Simple Steps That Make A HUGE Difference For The Environment.

1 June 2016. nowtoronto.com. 5 Ways to support sea change for World Oceans Day.

23 May 2016. Huffington Post. Obama’s Ban On Plastic Microbeads Failed In One Huge Way.

17 May 2016. Luluunlimited.com. G-Star Raw Teams Up With Plastic Soup Foundation.

16 May 2016. Fashionn.com. At the Copenhagen Fashion Summit – Sustainable fashion designers revolutionaries.

14 May 2016. wwd.com. Future of Sustainability Shapes Up at Copenhagen Fashion Summit.

13 May 2016. Fashionunited.com. Danish Fashion Institute joins international coalition ‘Stop the Microfiber!’

13 May 2016. Fashionunited.uk. Danish Fashion Institute joins international coalition ‘Stop the Microfiber!’

13 May 2016. Ecotextile.com. Danish Fashion Institute joins ocean plastic campaign.

6 May 2016. www.lapresse.ca. Cosmétiques: une 1re entreprise canadienne certifiée «Zéro plastique»

4 May 2016. Inverse.com. For G-Star Raw, the Hottest Fashion Trend Is Recycled Plastic.

4 May 2016. Edie.net. G-Star RAW launches scheme to halt plastic pollution in oceans.

4 May 2016. Sustainable Brands. G-Star, Plastic Soup Foundation Call on Industry to Help Stop Ocean Microfiber Pollution.

4 May 2016. Ecoiko.com. G-Star RAW launches scheme to halt plastic pollution in oceans.

2 May 2016. RivetandJeans.com. G-Star starts a new initiative to fight ocean plastic.

29 april 2016. Ecouterre.com. G-Star Raw, Plastic Soup Foundation Team Up Against Microfiber Pollution in Oceans.

29 April 2016. The Greener Blue. G-Star Raw, Plastic Soup Foundation Team Up Against Microfiber Pollution in Oceans.

29 April 2016. Environment Guru. G-Star Raw, Plastic Soup Foundation Team Up Against Microfiber Pollution in Oceans.

28 April 2016. Businessgreen.com. G-Star RAW and Plastic Soup Foundation team up to tackle plastic pollution

28 April 2016. fabeau.de. G-Star RAW will weiter Ozeane retten.

28 April 2016. ciwm-journal.co.uk. Call For Fashion Industry To Tackle Plastic Microfibers In Oceans.

28 April 2016. Humanitarian News. G-Star RAW and Plastic Soup Foundation team up to tackle plastic pollution.

28 April 2016. just-style.com. G-Star tackles microfibre ocean waste challenge.

28 April 2016. Care2.com. New Collaboration With G-Star to Stop Plastic Microfibers.

27 April 2016. Ecotextile.com. G-Star partners with ocean waste NGO.

27 April 2016. RuadeBaixo.com. G-Star Raw combate a poluição dos Oceanos.

27 April 2016. resource.co. Calls for fashion industry to act on microfibres.

27 April 2016. Praisemag.com. G-Star Raw x Plastic Soup Foundation.

27 April 2016. Fashion United Germany. G-Star Raw x Plastic Soup Foundation: „Stoppt Mikrofasern!“

27 April 2016. euroasiaindustry.com. Turning the tide on microfibre pollution.

27 April 2016. sportswear-international.com. G-Star further commits to clean the oceans.

27 April 2016. ruadebaixo.com. G-Star Raw combate a poluição dos Oceanos.

26 April 2016. Fashion United India. G-Star Raw x Plastic Soup Foundation: ‘Stop the microfiber!’

26 April 2016. Fashion United Australia. G-Star Raw x Plastic Soup Foundation: ‘Stop the microfiber!’

26 April 2016. Fashion United Canada. G-Star Raw x Plastic Soup Foundation: ‘Stop the microfiber!’

26 April 2016. Fashion United New Zealand. G-Star Raw x Plastic Soup Foundation: ‘Stop the microfiber!’

25 April 2016. Plastic Pollution Coalition. Calling On Companies to Clean Up The Wash.

1 February 2016. The Guardian. Funding problems hit plan to clean Rio’s polluted waterways ahead of Olympics.

Plastic Diet

The Plastic Soup Foundation has not only the global risk arising from the use of plastics on the agenda. We also focus on solutions. Our overconsumption of plastic must be reduced. Not by banning on all plastics, but by going on a ‘plastic diet’.

Maria Westerbos, director and founder of the Plastic Soup Foundation: “We can all consume less plastic. As an individual, as a family, as a company. On the website startplasticdiet.org we offer tips for everyone how they can reduce their own plastic use in everyday life. Of course, by using fewer plastic bags, but also by taking your own coffee mug to your favourite coffee shop or to work. You can also stop eating chewing gum. What many people do not know is that most chewing gums are made of flavoured plastic. Every little bit helps. Just being aware already makes a difference. Plastic diet is a movement. A revolution. The whole world should go on a plastic diet.

Our VIP Dietitians

Oliver Heldens

Oliver Heldens

DJ

Oliver Heldens is one of the most famous DJs in the world. The Dutch DJ is just 23 years old, but is the owner of his own label, has a global fan base of millions of followers and gives more than 120 performances per year. In addition to building a compelling music repertoire Oliver has a special place in his heart for the ocean. He is proud to be an Ambassador for the Plastic Soup Foundation.

Dorian van Rijsselberghe

Dorian van Rijsselberghe

Windsurfer

Windsurfer Dorian van Rijsselberghe is a two-time gold-medal winner at the Olympics (2012 and 2016). His passion for the ocean made him aware of the threat of plastic pollution. Dorian is the type of man who stands up and fights for what he loves; this is why he is Ambassador of the Plastic Soup Foundation. You are gold Dorian, thanks for your ambassadorship.