The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is set to back wide-ranging restrictions on microplastics in products, having found that their impact on terrestrial and freshwater environments is worse than the oceans.
Its findings were described in a presentation given Thursday by the agency’s senior scientific officer Peter Simpson at the MICRO 2018 conference on microplastics in Lanzarote, Spain.
“We have identified diverse sources of microplastics to the environment from ‘intentional uses’ in cosmetics, detergents, other household products, paints, and agricultural uses, amongst others. Many of these microplastics are washed down the drain at the point of use and because of how wastewater in the EU is treated, these microplastics will not typically be released directly to aquatic environments, but are likely to concentrate in sewage sludge that is then frequently applied to agricultural soils as a fertiliser,” he said.
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