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Norwegian researchers will find out if microplastics are dangerous for us

Nobody knows the effect of micro plastics on our body. Now, Norwegian researchers have joined the hunt for answers.

Helena Viktoria Johnsen / NRK

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This Autumn, microplastics were found for the first time in humans. Pieces of plastic smaller than five millimeters were found in stool samples of eight people. A group of Norwegian researchers will now collaborate to find out how these microplastics affect our body.

Professor Anders Goksøyr from the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Bergen (UiB) states that previous studies have shown that microplastics can be ingested by animals and cause adverse health outcomes. He is part of the research group, probably the first in Norway to investigate the effects in humans.

“You ingest microplastics anyhow. It is present in the sea, in the air and in the soil”, says Tanja Kögel. As a seafood researcher at the Institute of Marine Research and a part of the new research group she believes there is no reason to limit the study to seafood alone.

Professor Jutta Dierkes works at the Centre for Nutrition at UiB and will lead the new research project.

“Although we don’t have any evidence that microplastics damage the body, we assume that it is harmful for our health. First of all we will investigate the impact of microplastics on our intestines, then we will extend our research to the lungs and finally the rest of the body.”

The project starts in January 2019 and will be conducted at the Centre for Nutrition at UiB.