Science-based evidence on pathways and effects of human exposure to micro- and nanoplastics

Keywords: adverse outcome, plastic particles, regulatory-relevant data, risk assessment, risk management


Human exposure to plastic particles has raised great concern among all relevant stakeholders involved in the protection of human health due to the contamination of the food chain, surface waters, and even drinking water as well as due to their persistence and bioaccumulation. Now more than ever, it is critical that we understand the biological fate of plastics and their interaction with different biological systems. Because of the ubiquity of plastic materials in the environment and their toxic potential, it is imperative to gain reliable, regulatory-relevant, science-based data on the effects of plastic micro- and nanoparticles (PMNPs) on human health in order to implement reliable risk assessment and management strategies in the circular economy of plastics. This review presents current knowledge of human-relevant PMNP exposure doses, pathways, and toxic effects. It addresses difficulties in properly assessing plastic exposure and current knowledge gaps and proposes steps that can be taken to underpin health risk perception, assessment, and mitigation through rigorous science-based evidence. Based on the existing scientific data on PMNP adverse health effects, this review brings recommendations on the development of PMNP-specific adverse outcome pathways (AOPs) following the AOP Users' Handbook of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

How to Cite
Kalčec N, Bakan B, Liu S, Ilić K, Qi Y, Capjak I, Božičević L, Peranić N, Vinković Vrček I. Science-based evidence on pathways and effects of human exposure to micro- and nanoplastics. Arh Hig Rada Toksikol [Internet]. 2024Mar.12 [cited 2024Apr.19];75(1). Available from: