the Tiny plastic particles in cosmetics, plastic fibers from washing, weathered, or grated plastic micro-plastic ends up from various sources in wastewater. Although sewage treatment plants are quite efficient at it, the plastic parts of less than five millimetres in Size to hold back. However, passes still more of it in waters and soils.

Bernd Nowack and Véronique Adam, from the research Institute Empa have been estimated according to their own statements, for the first time, the risks of these tiny particles in the fresh water living fish and other organisms. Therefore, no acute risk, because the concentrations of micro-plastic in the investigated waters are below the threshold for potential damage to various aquatic organisms, such as the Empa announced on Monday in European rivers and lakes.

The two researchers used a method that is established for the assessment of the environmental risks posed by chemicals. They compared in real terms, as measured by micro-plastic pollution, with threshold values for possible toxic effects in different organisms. From their results, they reported recently in the journal “Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry”.

unlike in Europe, the micro-plastic strain values in the waters in Asia, partly over the said threshold, it said. This shows that the world regions with respect to the pollution by micro-plastic and the resulting environmental risk. Central sewage treatment: Where treatment plants are missing or only partially functioning, you may experience greater concentrations of micro-plastic in the environment.

Despite the current all-clear for Europe Nowack stressed that further studies were needed to negative consequences. The data basis is still sparse, especially with regards to local “Hotspots” of micro-plastic in the environment.

With his Team of researchers are planning further risk assessments on microplastics in soils and the oceans of the world. In addition, Empa scientists are investigating the formation of micro-plastic in the Washing and weathering, and try to quantify the micro-plastic flows in the environment.