Microplastics are everywhere — but are they harmful?
Tiny specks of plastics that come in large part from the enormous amounts of the material used in packaging and many consumer products are increasingly being found everywhere around the world. The degrading plastics are accumulating not only on land and in oceans and rivers, but in living things from small organisms to humans. Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden and his research team in ASU’s Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering are among engineers and scientists trying to determine if microplastics pose a serious threat to human health. Some of them are small enough to penetrate into human tissues and even cells. But these microparticles are so miniscule that proving they clearly have a significant impact on health will be difficult, Halden says.