Presence of microplastics in fruit and vegetables: the first study with a COMMON partner
For the first time a study is able to measure the concentrations of microplastics contained in the edible part of some of the most consumed fruits and vegetables in Italy. The research was conducted by the group of the Environmental and food hygiene laboratory of the University of Catania with Mohamed Banni of the Laboratoire de Biochimie et Toxicologie Environnementale of Sousse in Tunisia, partner of COMMON project. The study was published in recent days in the article "Micro - and nano - plastics in edible fruit and vegetables. The first diet risks assessment for the general population" in the important sector journal Environmental Research (Elsevier).
The data show a variable contamination with average dimensions of the microplastics from 1.51 to 2.52 microns and an average quantitative range from 223 thousand (52.600-307.750) to 97.800 (72.175-130.500) particles per gram of vegetable respectively in fruit and vegetables .
Moreover, research shows that the impact of plastic waste in seas and waterways on natural habitats and wildlife represents an emerging global problem and EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), in consultation with the European Commission, has already required a first step towards a future assessment of the potential risks for consumers deriving from the presence of microplastics and nanoplastics in food, in particular in fish products.