Microplastics: Health Hazards

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 20th January 2022.

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Photo of Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Green

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to investigate the human health impacts of microplastics in (1) food, and (2) the environment.

Photo of Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

Defra and the Environment Agency are working with academia, National Highways, and the UK water industry to improve our understanding of the scale of the microplastic pollution problem and to identify the key sources within the natural environment.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has been monitoring the scientific literature concerning the occurrence and effects of microplastics in food. On the basis of current evidence, the FSA considers it is unlikely that the presence of microplastic particles at the levels that have been reported to occur in certain types of food, especially seafood, would cause harm to consumers.

The Government is funding research to examine wider sources of microplastics, which will enable us to monitor and assess emerging information concerning microplastics in food and the environment. Our proposed bans on numerous commonly littered plastic items will further reduce the sources of microplastics that damage our environment.

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