Emergence of Nanoplastic in the Environment and its Impact on the Aquatic Environment and Human Health

Write an essay about the impacts of nanoplastic on the aquatic environment and human health.



Emergence of Nanoplastic in the Environment and its Impact on the Aquatic Environment and Human Health




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Emergence of Nanoplastic in the Environment and its Impact on the Aquatic Environment and Human Health

Plastics have caused adverse effects on the environment. Plastics materials become Nanoplastic, accumulating in the environment (Lehner et al., 2019). According to Mattsson et al. (2018), “Modern plastic was developed in 1907 and mass production of plastic started as early as the 1940s and 2012, amount of plastic produced reached 280 million tons 1 of this 280 million tons produced, 90% was low-density polyethylene” (p.3). The production of polymers has increased significantly over the past 60 years. Lehner et al. (2019) also stated that as a result of Nanoplastic accumulation in the environment, “a plethora of synthetic polymers have been developed that cover a broad range of attractive mechanical and other characteristics, including many property combinations that cannot be accessed with naturally occurring polymers such as proteins and cellulose” (p.1). According to Lehner et al. (2019) one of the mos essential classes of materials in the 21st century are synthetic polymers which impact our society and daily life. Synthetic polymers are classified into four categories: Thermosetting polymers, thermoplastic polymers, synthetic fibers and elastomers (Lehner et al., 2019). The majority of polymer particles are from the thermoplastic materials, and due to this, the environment scient community referred to all of the polymers as plastic. Polymers that were commercially used are combined with different additives such as fillers, plasticizers, flame retardants, stabilizers and pigments which are the properties found in the materials. The growing production of polymers has led to the pollution of the environment. Nanoplastic have chemical and physical properties, and therefore, they are hazardous to the aquatic environment and human health.

Effects of Nanoplastic on the Aquatic Environment

Nanoplastic has greatly affected the aquatic environment. According to Mattsson et al. (2018), “Plastic is the most significant marine litter in the world constituting between 60% to 80% of the total marine debris 5 and around 80% of the plastic litter in the marine environment is of terrestrial origin 6; whereas 18% is attributed to the fishing industry” (p.3). According to Lehner et al. (2019) Nanoplastic affects the immune systems of fish due to the stress caused by the polycarbonate and polystyrene which are Nanoplastic which stimulate the degranulation. “A number of studies showing adverse effects such as reactive oxygen species production and reproductive malfunctioning upon exposing aquatic organisms to Nanoplastic have used concentrations several orders of magnitude higher than concentrations predicted to be environmentally relevant such as one pg L−1 to 15 μg L−1 for Nanoplastic at sizes of about 50 nm” (Lehner et al., 2019, P.5). Microplastic particles have been found in several seafoo species, such as shrimps, fish, and bivalves. Lehner et al. (2019) also stated that “Experiments with zebrafish revealed that after seven days of exposure to fluorescent polystyrene nanoparticles with a diameter of 70 nm and at concentrations between 0.025 and 0.2 μg/μL, inflammation and lipid accumulation in the liver occurred” (p.4). Reflecting this fact enables one to understand the impact of Nanoplastic concentrations in the environment. Thus, when plastic is released in the environment, a relevant amount with end up in the aquatic environment, affecting the aquatic life negatively.

Effects of Nanoplastic on Human Health

Nanoplastic has adversely affected the human health. Nanoplastic is associated with several environmental risks and toxicity to humans (Lai et al., 2022). Nanoplastic is exposed to the body through absorption by the skin, oral inhalation, and ingestion. According to Lehner et al. (2019), “inhalation is likely to be relevant in occupational exposure scenarios that involve Nanoplastic-containing aerosols, whereas potential contact with the skin can occur through the use of personal care products such as Nanoplastic containing skin care and cleansing products, or contaminated water or air” (p.5). According to Lai et al. (2022) “oral intake is the most evaluated and common route through which humans are exposed to nanoplastics. This route leads to the continuous intake of nanoplastics into the body” (p.3).  The ingestion of Nanoplastic materials is through eating sea food and or drinking of contaminated water. Microplastic materials are also found in sugar, salt and honey. “Recent studies using FTIR spectroscopy have also shown the existence of microplastics in tap water and bottled water as well as drinking water from groundwater sources, and out of 159 samples of globally sourced tap water, 81% were found to contain microplastic particles, mainly fibers smaller than 5 mm with an overall mean of 5.45 particles” (Lehner et al., 2019, p.5). Nanoplastic is toxic to the human body because it causes liver failure, cell damage and cell death (Lai et al., 2022).  Thus, Nanoplastic has adversely affected the human health as it can cause failures of essential organs like the liver.


In conclusion, the adverse effects of plastic pollution have attracted a significant interest recently. Fragmentation of plastic materials into nanoparticles have been found in the environment.  Nanoplasics affect the aquatic environment adversely because it causes decreased locomotor, accumulation of tissues, alterations on lipid metabolism and effects the growth of aquatic life.  Nanoplastic is toxic to the human body because it causes liver failure, cell damage and cell death. The risks and hazards of Nanoplastics should be addressed in order to prevent environmental pollution.




Lai, H., Liu, X., & Qu, M. (2022). Nanoplastics and human health: hazard identification and biointerface. Nanomaterials, 12(8), 1298.

Lehner, R., Weder, C., Petri-Fink, A., & Rothen-Rutishauser, B. (2019). Emergence of nanoplastic in the environment and possible impact on human health. Environmental science & technology, 53(4), 1748-1765.

Mattsson, K., Jocic, S., Doverbratt, I., & Hansson, L. A. (2018). Nanoplastics in the aquatic environment. Microplastic contamination in aquatic environments, 379-399.


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