SETAC Microplastics Interest Group


We are a network of environmental professionals, scientists & decision makers, committed to furthering global knowledge of plastic pollution.

Plastic particles of various sizes are now found in every environment, from lakes, rivers, oceans, soils and the atmosphere.
As an interest group of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC), we provide an official platform for collaboration on plastic pollution between academia, business and government.

What are microplastics?

Microplastics are either produced intentionally (i.e. primary microplastics, for applications such as toothpaste or cosmetics) or form when larger plastics break down in the environment (i.e. secondary microplastics).

Environmental Contamination

Plastic waste accumulates in the marine environment because the oceans are a 'dead end' for many pollutants. Yet, microplastics have also been found in soils, sea ice, air, food and drinking water. Research on their persistence and fate in the environment is growing.

Effects on Humans & Wildlife

Researchers have found that microplastics can have a wide variety of effects on living organisms. More research is required to understand the ultimate toxic effect microplastics may have on ecosystems and organisms, including humans.