Discover microplastics research

The MOMENTUM 2.0 consortium and 7 additional projects will be researching the effects of microplastics and nanoplastics on our health until mid-2025. The project leads have recorded a short video explaining what their research is about.

Plastic waste in the oceans, rivers, soil and air can break down into tiny particles. The impact of these microplastics and nanoplastics on our health is largely unknown. Projects in the Microplastics & Health programme are studying the effects, and developing strategies to limit them.


Funding was awarded to 15 one-year breakthrough projects in 2018. They went on to produce information on the effect of microplastics and nanoplastics on cells and tissues. Since 2021, 14 of these projects have been continuing their groundbreaking work in the Microplastics and Human Health Consortium ‘MOMENTUM’.

MOMENTUM received follow-up funding at the end of 2023, and is to continue its work as MOMENTUM 2.0. By 2025, it should have produced further new knowledge and an overview of the next crucial steps that need to be taken in microplastics and health research.

Introducing MOMENTUM 2.0

Besides MOMENTUM 2.0, another 7 additional projects were awarded funding in 2023. Each of them is focusing on one of the following subjects: microplastics in the environment, consumer behaviour, interventions and standardised research methods. A brief introduction to each project is given below.

Microplastics in the environment

Microplastics can find their way into the body through the food we eat and the water we drink. The following 2 projects are studying the possible effects of this:

Food for thought

The Food for Thought study is researching microplastics that end up in crops via the soil. The researchers are measuring the quantity of plastic particles in plants and herbivores, and examining whether they can be passed on to humans through the food chain. 

(Micro)2 corona

The (Micro)2 corona project is looking at the effect of the biocorona on the absorption of microplastics in the human intestines. The biocorona is formed when molecules in our food, for example, adhere to plastic particles in the stomach and intestines. 

Consumer behaviour and interventions

Psychological factors can influence consumer behaviour in relation to microplastics. The following 2 projects are developing interventions for this:

Microplastics and Citizens

Researchers working on the Microplastics and Citizens project are developing an intervention to encourage people to reduce the quantity of microplastics released, or to protect themselves from microplastics.


The FLES study is researching microplastics in mother’s milk and bottle feed (‘fles’ is Dutch for bottle). The researchers are also looking at which baby bottles and preparation techniques minimise the quantity of microplastics that babies ingest. 

Standardised research methods

We need effective methods for measuring plastic particles in order to research the effects of microplastics and nanoplastics. The following 3 projects are helping to develop such methods:


The ATHENA project will develop tools for standardising exposure and effect data for microplastics. This will allow different data sources to be used to estimate the risks of microplastics to humans.


Researchers in the Py-Harmony project are developing an improved method for measuring and identifying microplastics and nanoplastics in different environmental compartments, such as soil, water and air.


The MLIdent study is to develop a more robust method for measuring and characterising microplastics and nanoplastics more precisely in different matrices, such as blood.


Videos: Lois Nieuwenhoven