Scientists from the University of Plymouth have contributed to a major European report summarising the current science on risks to humans and environment posed by microplastics.
The Evidence Review Report, published by SAPEA (Science Advice for Policy by European Academies), suggests microplastics and nanoplastics do not currently pose a widespread risk except in small pockets.
But that evidence is limited, and the situation could change if pollution continues at the current rate.
The report will inform the forthcoming scientific opinion from the European Commission’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors, due in 2019, with that opinion being delivered directly to European Commissioners to help inform policy-making.
The experts who produced the report were nominated by academies across Europe. They included Associate Professor (Reader) in Psychology Dr Sabine Pahl and Professor Richard Thompson OBE, Head of the International Marine Litter Research Unit, who presented it to a meeting of the G7 in Washington.
They have collaborated on a number of research projects in recent years, highlighting the presence of microplastics and in particular, public attitudes towards them.