Airborne microplastics: Consequences to human health?

Environ Pollut. 2018 Mar:234:115-126. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2017.11.043. Epub 2017 Dec 21.


Microplastics have recently been detected in atmospheric fallout in Greater Paris. Due to their small size, they can be inhaled and may induce lesions in the respiratory system dependent on individual susceptibility and particle properties. Even though airborne microplastics are a new topic, several observational studies have reported the inhalation of plastic fibers and particles, especially in exposed workers, often coursing with dyspnea caused by airway and interstitial inflammatory responses. Even though environmental concentrations are low, susceptible individuals may be at risk of developing similar lesions. To better understand airborne microplastics risk to human health, this work summarizes current knowledge with the intention of developing awareness and future research in this area.

Keywords: Atmospheric pollutant; Dust; Fibers; Nanoplastics; Particulate matter; Toxicity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Air Pollutants / toxicity
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Occupational Exposure
  • Plastics / analysis*
  • Plastics / toxicity
  • Risk Assessment


  • Air Pollutants
  • Plastics