There is an urgent need to understand the risks on human health of micro- and nano-plastic particles (MNPs) that contaminate food and environment. We aim to create a cross-disciplinary platform to design suitable analytical approaches for determining the extent of the problem in the environment and to our health by evaluating the influence of ingested and inhaled exposure of MNPs contaminated with metals, allergens, pathogenic bacteria and toxins on allergic responses.
Our strategy includes developing a novel combination of tools to identify, extract, characterize, and quantify MNPs from selected foods, environmental media, and tissues of exposed animals to assess MNP prevalence based on size, shape and type. We will produce and label MNPs for use in a variety of pre-clinical studies to investigate toxicity and responses to MNPs, contaminants and allergens. We plan to use novel stable isotope 13C labelling and detection to determine MNP fate and accumulation in the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts and secondary organs after immediate and chronic exposure and the effect on allergic immune responses at the cellular and molecular levels. Additionally, we designed a clinical study to evaluate the influence of MNP exposure in humans.
The outcome of this state-of-the-art project includes
- novel tools for MNP detection
- improved understanding of the effects of NMPs combined with critical contaminants in the air, water and food on human health and discovery of predictive biomarkers
- increased awareness of disease risk in response to MNPs and contaminants
- improved communication strategies between science and relevant stakeholders and contribution to blue growth and the health-relevant aims of the European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy
- policy-relevant scientific data in support of improved human health hazard and risk assessment and for response and mitigation policies at the national and EU level for policymakers.
ImpTox is part of the European MNP cluster on human health.
Fields of science
Call for proposal
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