Is microplastic carcinogenic?

Madeira Public Health Service SESARAM EPERAM collaborates with the EU | mifuturonorcal

The effects of micro and nanoplastic particles (MNP) in the human body are being thoroughly studied for the first time worldwide. From 2022 to 2025, research will be conducted at CBmed together with international partners to clarify the potential health effects of microplastics.

(Graz/Vienna, March 30, 2022) Each person in developed countries currently ingests an average of five grams of plastic per week, as much as a standard credit card. What these micro- and nanoplastic particles (MNPs) do to the intestinal tract has been little studied to date, although initial research results indicate that MNPs pose a health risk. « microONE », a research project running until 2025 with a project volume of around four million euros and more than 20 national and international partner organisations, aims to provide scientifically sound answers to this pressing question.

Prof. Wolfgang Wadsak PhD, Director General microONE: « The impact of this research project is enormous, because ultimately we want to find out whether certain microplastic particles lead, for example, to the development or increased aggressiveness of colon cancer or influence the microbiome. Based on these findings, we may need to change the use of plastics in food packaging. With this project, we can initiate changes worldwide as a leader together with key international partners. »

Prof. Lukas Kenner MD, microONE Chief Science Officer, on the scientific focus: “microONE will investigate the accumulation of MNPs in the human body and also find out whether they contribute to carcinogenesis or even metastasis in the human body.”

Colorectal cancer (CRC) was chosen as the model system because the majority of MNP uptake occurs through the gastrointestinal tract with CRC being the most prominent variant. The research also includes the potential impact of MNP on the gut microbiome.