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Microplastics & Health consortium

MOMENTUM is a new Dutch initiative designed to study human health effects of micro and nanoplastic particles, ‘MNP’ (‘’problem analysis”) and to propose solutions to minimize their potential health impact (“solutions analysis’). MOMENTUM brings together researchers from eight Dutch universities and medical centres, four research organisations and fourteen international partners from small, medium and large private enterprises. The MOMENTUM consortium has expertise in a wide range of disciplines, including polymer and analytical chemistry, exposome sciences, materials sciences, toxicology, immunology, medical sciences, virology, microbiology, bioengineering, environmental sciences, and risk assessment, ensuring an original, interdisciplinary mix of researchers who will work together for the first time to tackle this challenge. This will create synergism that will fuel both the fundamental research and the evidence that can be translated towards the benefit of society.

In MOMENTUM, Dr. Heather Leslie of the VU Dept. of Environment and Health is responsible for leading the real-world MNP internal human exposure work as lead of the analytical chemistry work package. In addition, attention will be given to the kinetics of MNPs crossing internal barriers of the lung, intestine, brain and placenta. Toxicological work focuses on immunological hazards of MNP and MNP-associated pathogens. Other areas covered are the formation and characterization of MNP. The project further aims to develop a roadmap to comprehensive human risk assessment of MNP, to generate knowledge and a long-term R&D strategy that can be used towards minimizing potential health risks. The project coordinators are Prof. Legler (Utrecht University) and Prof. Vethaak (Deltares and VU-E&H). The three-year project starts in spring 2021.

Contact: Dr. Heather Leslie

Sponsors: Zon Mw & Health-Holland

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