A recent assessment from ECHA finds that microplastics used in products and inevitably released in the environment are not adequately controlled. Microplastics are defined as small, typically microscopic (less than 5mm), synthetic polymer particles that resist (bio)degradation.
Among the concerns, ECHA highlights the persistence and the potential for adverse effects or bioaccumulation of microplastics and their potential -and not well-known- effects on human health.ECHA has thus submitted an EU-wide restriction proposal aimed to reduce the emissions of microplastics by about 400 tonnes in a 20-year period. Multiple sectors may be impacted such as the cosmetic, cleaning, paints and coatings industries, the construction and medical industries and the oil & gas sector, as well as the agriculture, which was identified as the biggest source of intentionally-added microplastics. ECHA also hints the restriction is expected to be cost-effective for all these sectors.