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Advances in hazard assessment of micro- and nanoplastics and contaminants in humans

Nine early career researchers from PlasticsFatE attended a training workshop organized by STAMI following the PlasticsFatE General Assembly in Oslo. Eight lecturers from various research institutions joined forces under the coordination of STAMI and the PlasticsFatE Management to update participants on recent advances in hazard assessment of MNPs in humans.

Back row from left: Sara, Giulia, Lara, Anja, Sebastian, Maria, Safaa, Øyvind, Paul

Front row from left: Francesco, Alberto, Katharina and Andreas. Photo by Anani Afanou

The overall objective was to update early career researchers on recent methodological developments for quantifying hazard effects of micro- and nanoplastics in humans. The workshop included a series of lectures that provided the necessary information/concepts and overview of methods in plastic particle toxicology, as well as a hands-on demonstration of the Cloud exposure systems from Vitrocell (Germany).

Prof Philip Demokritou (Harvard, USA) opened the workshop with a keynote lecture on potential health issues associated with exposure to MNPs, particularly to acute altered lipid metabolism upon ingestion of MNPs.

Adapted methods and approaches for in vitro characterization of toxic effects in airways, gastro-intestinal tract and the immune system were respectively described by Dr Sonja Boland (University of Paris, France), Dr Alba Tamargo (CSIC, Spain) and Dr Alberto Katsumiti (GAIKER, Spain).

The physico-chemical properties of MNPs in various media and the associated kinetics were introduced by Dr Francesco Barbero (University of Torino, Italy). He emphasized the necessity to have good characterization of particle dosimetry in every exposure system in order to achieve relevant and reproducible data.

Another important issue was the detection of MNPs in complex matrices. This was presented by Dr Anja Ramsperger (UBT, Germany) who described the possibilities and limitations of different detection methods. Dr Tobias Stöeger (HZM, Germany) ended the workshop with a lecture on the correlation between in vitro and in vivo studies of hazard effects.

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