Microplastics and nanomaterials

Do you know what microplastics and nanomaterials have in common?

Their infinitesimally small size makes these compounds difficult to assess. They are also two topics that we study at ANSES to better understand the hazards they represent. Engineered nanomaterials and plastic have some advantages, but the resulting particulate contamination can have negative consequences for human health and ecosystems. Today, in collaboration with the French National Research Agency (ANR), we are organising a scientific webinar on recent work on the impact of microplastics and nanomaterials. Read our close-up dedicated to these two themes.

1 - Research on microplastics and nanomaterials

Overview of research undertaken by ANSES and the ANR; report of the French Parliamentary Office for the Evaluation of Scientific and Technological Choices on “Plastic pollution: a ticking time bomb?”; expert round table on “Micro/nano: from futility to utility”...

> Find out more about the Scientific Conference on “Microplastics and nanomaterials: research on environment & health”, the programme, and the speakers.

Five research projects that we are funding on the topics of nanomaterials and microplastics are being presented today. ANSES supports research by funding the National Research Programme for Environmental and Occupational Health (PNR EST).  In 2020, 34 projects were funded for a total of €6 million.  Since 2011, 37 projects on nanomaterials and microplastics have been funded.

> Find out more about the National Research Programme for Environmental and Occupational Health (PNR EST)

> Read Cahier de la recherche n°17 : "Microplastiques et nanomatériaux"- Comprendre où en est la recherche (PDF)(in French)

2- Nanomaterials

Do you know what nanomaterials are and why they are used in countless everyday products? These new technologies have unique properties. However, should lack of knowledge and suspicions of risks call into question their use and production?

> Take a closer look at the issues involved and our work on nanomaterials.

« We need to be pragmatic on the issue of nanomaterials: we have to better understand exposure, identify the uses and ask questions about their utility in view of the health risks ».

Read the interview of Aurélie Niaudet, in charge of assessing risks related to physical agents, provides insight on the issue of nanomaterials.

3- Microplastics

It is currently estimated that 10% of all of the plastics produced since their invention have ended up in the ocean. All living species, from the smallest (e.g. zooplankton) to the largest (e.g. whales), can ingest them. Given their extensive presence in rivers, seas and oceans and their impact on aquatic fauna and flora, fishery products and drinking water, microplastics are research topics of the utmost importance.

> Learn more about our work on microplastics.