The why and how of micro(nano)plastic research

Elsevier, TrAC - Trends in Analytical Chemistry, Volume 114, May 2019
Oliveira M., Almeida M.
The presence of small plastic particles in the environment, reported for the first time in the 1970's, has only recently been recognized as a global issue. Although environmental awareness continues to grow, so does its consumption and associated risks. The number of studies reporting the presence of microplastics, has grown exponentially as did the concern over plastic degradation into smaller particles like nanoplastics, a potentially more pernicious form of plastic pollution. The reported effects of micro(nano)plastics on biota range from depletion of energy reserves and altered metabolism to immunological, neurotoxic effects and behavioral effects. This paper presents a critical review of current scientific knowledge in terms of reasons to study the effects of small plastics present in the environment, what has been assessed so far; most common methodologies. Research and technical developments requirements are also presented. Overall, it is clear the need for standardization of procedures and communication of results.