消除消費品中塑膠微粒的擔憂 Allaying concerns over microplastics consumption from consumer products
A plastic bottle of fresh juice not only provides nutrients for your dietary needs, but also contains a million tiny plastic particles. In a recent study , scientists have revealed that babies in the UK consume over three millions pieces of microplastics daily through the drinking of formula milk from plastic feeding bottles. This revelation has caused widespread public concern. In particular, there is a lack of legislation to control exposure to microplastics in our daily lives.
Besides infant feeding bottles, the release of microplastics from other PP products are also the cause of concern. For example, around 60% and 91% of electrical kettles in the EU and UK market are made of PP. Tests involving three kettles from different manufacturers in the UK revealed that over 10 million PP microplastics/litre are released into water during a single boil .
Microplastics are invisible plastic pollutants, constituting a group of tiny polymer particles that differ in size, shape, material type, and chemical composition. There is currently no standard definition of microplastics, but in general, they are categorized based on their size. Under a broad definition , any polymer particles with a size smaller than 5mm are considered a microplastic.
Microplastics are a persistent pollutant. They have been found not only in the environment, but also exist in the human diet due to contamination from plastic food packaging. According to a report  published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2019, microplastics are frequently detected in drinking water from bottles made of polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE), polystyrene (PS), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and PET plastic. In addition, thermal treatment of food packaging, such as the sterilization process, may contribute to the release of microplastics resulting from the degradation of the plastic in these products. Tea brewed using plastic-based teabags has been found to contain microplastics, a typical example of the release of microplastics from degraded plastic food packaging. With a view to minimizing the consumption of microplastics, replacing plastic food containers with a safer alternative, such as glass, could be a wise choice.
Although microplastics have been found to exist widely in the environment, and even in the human diet, knowledge of the potential health impacts of microplastics on humans is limited. Microplastic particles can potentially translocate into the circulatory system and different tissues. Scientists are concerned that microplastics may carry pathogens or toxic chemicals into the body .
To safeguard your products from microplastic contamination, TÜV Rheinland offers an Expert review service to assist you in identifying possible microplastic contamination risk in your products. With our worldwide network of laboratories, TÜV Rheinland can conduct further material analysis to help you identify the presence of microplastics in your food packaging products.
 The Guardian, Bottle-fed babies swallow millions of microplastics a day, study finds, 19 October 2020
 Michael TS, Sven K, Axel K, et al. 2019. Determination of particles produced during boiling in different plastic and glass kettles via comparative dynamic image analysis using FlowCam. Analytik News.
 Arthur C, Baker J, and Bamford H. 2009. Proceedings of the international research workshop on the occurrence, effects and fate of microplastic marine debris, Sept 9−11, 2008. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
 ECHA. 2019. Mapping exercise – Plastic additives initiative
 Prata JC, da Costa JP, Lopes I, et al. 2020. Environmental exposure to microplastics: An overview on possible human health effects. Sci Total Environ. 702:134455.
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