The Ministry of I&W is contributing financially to the recently started research programme Microplastics & Health. This programme was initiated by ZonMw, The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development in collaboration with the Topsector Water, Topsector Life Sciences & Health and the Gieskes-Strijbis Foundation. In this programme the best research projects investigating possible health effects of micro- en nanoplastics will receive funding.
More and more is known about small plastic particles entering oceans, rivers, soil and air. The sources of these small plastic particles vary. Sources of small plastic particles are for example due to corrosion and weathering of plastic waste, due to adding microplastics to cosmetic products, or because of microfiber release during washing of synthetic clothes or even due to car tyre wear on the roads. The effects of small plastic particles on marine life are evident based on scientific research. Based on this research scientists are concerned about possible health effects in people if micro- and nanoplastics end up in our food, drinking water and air.
The ZonMw research programme Microplastics & Health will increase the understanding of possible health effects by funding short-term breakthrough projects. This is a new area of research in which projects will study possible toxic effects on humans of small plastic particles at cellular or organ level. Some of the necessary expertise for this new research area is abroad, which is why international collaboration within the projects is stimulated.
The call for proposals recently closed, all proposals are now being evaluated. According to plan an international programme committee will decide early 2019 which projects should receive funding. With the additional funding from the Ministry of I&W four extra projects can be granted, bringing the maximum number of projects up to 14 in total. This contribution significantly increases the impact of the programme.