SAPEA evidence review helps shape new WHO microplastics report

Today’s report on microplastics in drinking water by the World Health Organisation draws prominently on SAPEA's evidence review report from earlier this year.

Report on microplastics in drinking water by the World Health Organisation

Quoting the SAPEA report, WHO scientists conclude that microplastics in drinking water do not appear to pose a health risk at current levels, as most of the small particles pass through the body without being absorbed. However, the report stresses that the findings were based on “limited information” and calls for greater research on the issue.

And the WHO also prominently cites the warning of the SAPEA working group that the level of microplastics in the environment could become a serious risk within a century if pollution continues at the current rate.

SAPEA’s comprehensive report on microplastics was delivered in January 2019 as part of the EU Scientific Advice Mechanism. It has already influenced several other developments in international policy, including most notably the scientific opinion on microplastics issued by the European Commission’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors in April.


Lively discussion on microplastics in Slovenia

SAPEA’s microplastic report, along with issues related to recycling of plastics and future technologies, were discussed on 4 October 2019 in Ljubljana. The one-day event was organised by SAPEA, the Slovenian Academy of Engineering and the University of Ljubljana.  

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Scientific Opinion on microplastics handed over to Commissioners

EU policy should be broadened to address airborne, freshwater and soil-based microplastic pollution, according to the Scientific Opinion of the European Commission’s Chief Scientific Advisors. The opinion also discusses how to ensure that measures are politically and socioeconomically feasible, and highlights the need for global cooperation and high-quality scientific exchange on microplastic pollution.

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