This report reviews the current evidence on health, environmental and societal impacts of nano- and microplastic pollution. Microplastics are plastic particles of mixed shape that are present in air, soil, freshwater, seas, in biota, and in several components of our diet. Because of fragmentation and degradation of larger plastic items and of microplastics, it is plausible that nanoplastics will be formed. Scientists, policy-makers and the public are becoming increasingly concerned about both the ubiquity of nano- and microplastics and the uncertainties surrounding their impacts, hazards and risks to our environment and to human health.
The interest, concern and uncertainties surrounding nano- and microplastics and the heightened media attention on plastic pollution, coupled with the many unknowns, make the project very timely. The broad scope and complexity of the issue have presented many challenges, while the topicality of the subject makes it especially important.