Human Exposure and Accumulation of Plastics

Minderoo Foundation

Microplastics (1 μm – 5 mm) and nanoplastics (< 1 μm) are found in a variety of environmental compartments, including water, soil, and air. There are currently limited studies that assess human exposure to these micro and nanosized plastics and their potential accumulation in the human body. Hence, this project aims to investigate human exposure and the fate of micro and nanoplastics following their ingestion or inhalation. Biomonitoring samples (e.g., tissue, blood) will be collected by collaborating surgeons at partner hospitals to determine whether micro and nanoplastics are accumulated in the body and the effects of their accumulation on human health. Furthermore, the key human exposure pathways will also be investigated to improve the very limited understanding of exposure and fate of plastics in humans, and sampling methods will be developed and optimised for various sampling matrices to improve result accuracy in future testing.

Project members

Honglin (Lin) Chen

PhD Candidate (Minderoo Centre)

Dr Cassandra Rauert

Senior Research Fellow

Prof Kevin Thomas

QAEHS Director
and Theme Leader, Environmental Health Toxicology