Microplastics in coastal areas and seafood: implications for food safety

Inneke Hantoro*, Ansje J. Löhr, Frank G.A.J. Van Belleghem, Budi Widianarko, Ad M.J. Ragas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Microplastics have become ubiquitous in the marine environment. Microplastics have been detected in many coastal environments and species, including commercial seafood. This triggers concern about potential economic impacts and the risks of dietary exposure, especially for coastal communities. However, data regarding the levels of microplastics in coastal seafood and their toxicological effects are still limited. Accordingly, the dietary risk is still poorly explored. This review summarizes and discusses recent scientific findings on (i) the presence of microplastics in coastal waters, (ii) the occurrence of microplastics in coastal seafood and the likelihood of trophic transfer, and (iii) the effects of microplastics on coastal fish and shellfish species. Human toxicity data are also reviewed, but the risks for human health are difficult to determine due to limited data. Based on available worldwide data, the estimation of microplastics intake through seafood consumption shows a huge variation. Additionally, a lack of standardized analytical methods complicates the comparison of results between studies and therefore seriously affects the reliability of risk assessments. It is concluded that more exposure and toxicity data are needed properly to assess human health risks of microplastics in coastal seafood, and the lack of data currently impede the derivation of a risk-based food safety standard. The pros and cons of an interim solution, i.e. setting a provisional action level, are being discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)674-711
Number of pages38
JournalFood Additives and Contaminants Part A-Chemistry Analysis Control Exposure& Risk Assessment
Volume36
Issue number5
Early online date11 Apr 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • Microplastics
  • coastal seafood species
  • trophic transfer
  • food safety
  • HYDROPHOBIC ORGANIC-CHEMICALS
  • POTENTIALLY TOXIC ELEMENTS
  • MYTILUS-EDULIS L.
  • COD GADUS-MORHUA
  • PLASTIC DEBRIS
  • MARINE-ENVIRONMENT
  • NORTH-SEA
  • DEMERSAL FISH
  • GASTROINTESTINAL-TRACT
  • NEPHROPS-NORVEGICUS

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