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Microplastics in Seafood and the Implications for Human Health

Authors
  • Smith, Madeleine1
  • Love, David C.1, 2
  • Rochman, Chelsea M.3
  • Neff, Roni A.1, 2
  • 1 Johns Hopkins University, Department of Environmental Health and Engineering, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA , Baltimore (United States)
  • 2 Johns Hopkins University, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 N. Wolfe St., W7010, Baltimore, MD, 21205, USA , Baltimore (United States)
  • 3 University of Toronto, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Toronto, ON, Canada , Toronto (Canada)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Current Environmental Health Reports
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Publication Date
Aug 16, 2018
Volume
5
Issue
3
Pages
375–386
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s40572-018-0206-z
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

Purpose of ReviewWe describe evidence regarding human exposure to microplastics via seafood and discuss potential health effects.Recent FindingsShellfish and other animals consumed whole pose particular concern for human exposure. If there is toxicity, it is likely dependent on dose, polymer type, size, surface chemistry, and hydrophobicity.SummaryHuman activity has led to microplastic contamination throughout the marine environment. As a result of widespread contamination, microplastics are ingested by many species of wildlife including fish and shellfish. Because microplastics are associated with chemicals from manufacturing and that sorb from the surrounding environment, there is concern regarding physical and chemical toxicity. Evidence regarding microplastic toxicity and epidemiology is emerging. We characterize current knowledge and highlight gaps. We also recommend mitigation and adaptation strategies targeting the life cycle of microplastics and recommend future research to assess impacts of microplastics on humans. Addressing these research gaps is a critical priority due to the nutritional importance of seafood consumption.

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