Are There Nano- and Microplastics in the Workplace?


The growing problem of plastic pollution in the environment is receiving an increasing amount of attention. Small particles of plastics are often referred to as microplastics (plastic particles smaller than 5 mm [1]) and nanoplastics (the nanoscale fraction of plastic particles). Nano- and microplastic particles (NMPPs) can be formed through environmental and mechanical degradation (the top-down mechanism). They can be also generated through condensation of molecular species, for example, during heating or burning of plastics (the bottom-up mechanism).

A lot of attention is focused on the presence of NMPP in the food chain. A critical issue from an occupational health perspective is how workers might be exposed to NMPPs. Do they become airborne? If NMPP are airborne, the main route of exposure in the workplace is through inhalation.

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CDC, NIOSH Science Blog