Media Room

Microplastics

Microplastic and nanoplastic particles are found almost everywhere in the environment. Inevitably, global concerns are emergent due to the unknown implications for human health and diverse ecosystems.

Microplastics

Highlight on Microplastics

Growing global concerns surrounding microplastics (and other plastic particles) is apparent in the news. Reports often portray the pervasive issues of plastic contamination in waterways, food products, soils, drinking water and air. In particular, The World Health Organization (WHO) pleas for further health risk assessments following the ingestion of microplastics and nanoplastics with complimentary quality-assured toxicological data.2 Agilent understand the urgent need to address this endemic problem, that’s why this year it is a key topic.

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Press Contacts

Phoebe Small
Agilent Technologies
+44 161 492 7756
+44 7795 520 531
phoebe.small@agilent.com

Victoria Wadsworth-Hansen
Agilent Technologies
+45 2933 6980
+1 408 553 2005
victoria.wadsworth-hansen@agilent.com

Overview

Microplastics encompass an array of plastic-derived materials with differing shapes, sizes, chemical compositions, densities and colors. Despite a lack of uniform scientific definition, they are often described as plastic particles smaller than 5mm in length.1, 2 This is subjective due to inter-changeable upper and lower limits of analytical detection depending upon several factors. Recently, The World Health Organization (WHO) released a report on microplastics in drinking water.2 They concluded that limited data is available, and more investigational work is required to determine the complete impact that microplastics and nanoplastics elicit upon human health from other sources, as opposed to drinking water alone.

References:
1) Eerkes-Medrano D, Thompson RC and Aldridge DC (2015). Microplastics in freshwater systems: a review of the emerging threats, identification of knowledge gaps and prioritisation of research needs. Water Research, 75:63–82. doi: 10.1016/j. watres.2015.02.012.
2) https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/326499/9789241516198-eng.pdf?ua=1


Agilent Solutions

Agilent provides solutions for the detection and analysis of microplastics. Infrared (IR) imaging provides the opportunity to simultaneously identify the shape, size, and characterization of microplastics; something that is lacking in many other analyzation techniques. In addition, Agilent offers both benchtop and portable handheld solutions to analyze microplastics onsite in the environment enabling immediate and real-time information.