Welcome to the January 2023 news blast from the POLYRISK, an EU-funded research project that aims to better understand how micro- and nanoplastics (MNPs) impact our health and immune system.

The first study from POLYRISK, published December 2022, assesses the uptake and potential immunotoxic effects of microplastics and nanoplastics through in vitro exposure of human cells.

The conclusion? Micro- and nanoplastics cannot be studied as homogeneous substances, and particle size, surface and other characteristics must be considered when assessing their immunotoxicity.

The study was published in the Journal of Immunotoxicology, by POLYRISK scientists from the University of Utrecht.

POLYRISK is a research project funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme, that examines human exposure to MNP and their potential toxic effects. POLYRISK considers occupational and consumer exposure and puts a special emphasis on potential adverse effects of MNP on the immune system.

Together with four other large-scale projects, POLYRISK is part of the European Cluster on Health Impacts of Micro- And NanoPlastic, CUSP. The work of the cluster focuses on understanding micro- and nanotplastics in our environment and how exposures to these could impact human health.  In close collaboration with the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) and a constant dialogue between scientists, stakeholders and policy makers, CUSP is enhancing the policy relevance and impact of research on this topic.

Check out the first CUSP Policy Brief, which outlines how the cluster’s activities and findings could contribute to EU regulation, initiatives and missions, and feed into EU policies on chemicals, plastics, food and water.

Find out more by visiting the POLYRISK website, subscribing to our newsletter or by following us on Twitter and LinkedIn.