Special Issue "Microplastics: Hazards to Environmental and Human Health"
A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 January 2018) | Viewed by 74816
Interests: plastic litter; nanoparticles; micro- and nanoplastics; emerging contaminants; endocrine disruption; mixture toxicity; ecosystem health; human health effects of chemicals and fine particles
There has been increasing concern about the presence of microplastics, which are generally defined as plastic particles and fibres with a diameter <5 mm, with no lower limit. They are derived from progressive fragmentation of larger debris, or are purposefully made for use in personal care products, medicines, and industry. In addition to physical impacts of the plastic particles themselves, microplastics are associated with a complex mixture of chemicals that may transfer to humans and other organisms upon exposure. These chemicals include chemical additives, residual monomers and sorbed ambient chemical substances, many of which are endocrine-disrupting and hazardous compounds that can adversely affect human health and the environment. Microplastics may act also as a vector for dispersal of invasive species, including potential pathogens.
Microplastics have become increasingly prevalent in the oceans and seas, inland waters, soils, food webs, indoor and outdoor air. Consequently, public concerns about microplastics are mounting due to their unknown effects at the organismal level and the potential consequences for ecosystem functioning and human health. There is an expanding knowledge base on microplastics for marine and freshwater organisms and ecosystems, but our understanding of the potential human health effects from exposure to microplastics constitutes major knowledge gaps. Humans can be exposed to plastic particles via consumption of seafood and terrestrial food products, drinking water and via the air. However, the level of human exposure, chronic toxic effect concentrations and underlying toxicological mechanisms by which microplastics elicit effects are still too poorly understood to make a full assessment of the risks to humans.
This Special Issue aims to start filling these big gaps in our knowledge and is concerned with all aspects of microplastic contamination that may affect human health. These include microplastics of all sizes, including nanosized particles and engineered polymeric nanoparticles. Impacts on human health could cover the latest research on key sources, oral and inhalation exposure levels, routes into the human body, in vitro effects, study of microplastics in animal models, cellular internalisation, particle toxicity, chemical and microbial hazards. Impacts on environmental health may include potential impacts on sentinel species, populations and ecosystems, accumulation and trophic transfer in food webs, development of appropriate biomarkers of exposure and effect. Papers on chemical mixture toxicity and risk assessment of plastic debris, and novel methods for identification and quantification of plastic particles in food, air, water, and biological matrices are welcome as well.
Prof. Dr. A.D. (Dick) Vethaak
Manuscript Submission Information
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