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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fargo, North Dakota » Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center » Animal Metabolism-Agricultural Chemicals Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #374875

Research Project: Detection and Fate of Chemical and Biological Residues in Food and Environmental Systems

Location: Animal Metabolism-Agricultural Chemicals Research

Title: Micro- and nanoplastic induced cellular toxicity in mammals: A review

item Banerjee, Amrita
item Shelver, Weilin

Submitted to: Science of the Total Environment
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/18/2020
Publication Date: 9/25/2020
Citation: Banerjee, A., Shelver, W.L. 2020. Micro- and nanoplastic induced cellular toxicity in mammals: A review. Science of the Total Environment. 755:142518.

Interpretive Summary: Plastic utilization has steadily increased over the past few decades and pervaded every aspect of our lives. However, the durable nature of plastics has created environmental pollution concerns globally. Small sizes of plastics called microplastics and nanoplastics can be found in drinking water, several food items and air. Therefore, human exposure to micro/nano plastics is inevitable. However, there is limited information about consequences of plastic exposure in human beings. In this review, we have compiled information from literature about the fate and toxicity of micro/nano plastics in human and other mammalian cells, if any. Factors that can likely influence toxicity and possible mechanisms of cellular toxicity are also discussed. Given that a formal, quantitative clinical study designed to systematically evaluate plastic toxicity in human cannot be conducted due to ethical reasons, the information presented in this paper will help extrapolate data from cell studies to human health risks.

Technical Abstract: Plastic based products are ubiquitous due to their tremendous utility in our daily lives. However, the limited biodegradable nature of plastics has recently raised pollution concerns globally, especially micro- and nanoplastics. These anthropogenic pollutants are either manufactured specifically in the small size range for various commercial applications or formed due to fragmentation of macro plastics in the environment. Micro- and nanoplastics are currently widespread in the oceans, freshwater bodies, land and even present in our food. The biological effects of micro- and nanoplastics on aquatic organisms is well documented but their impacts on human health have not been rigorously investigated. This review discusses the potential routes of exposure to micro- and nanoplastics, biological effects of these particles in mammalian cells, factors influencing toxicity, and the probable mechanisms of cytotoxicity. Understanding the cellular fate and toxicity of these materials may help extrapolate risks to human health.