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Small fragments of plastic can break down even further when exposed to the environment

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DESPITE mounting evidence that we eat, drink and breathe microplastics, it still isn’t clear whether these tiny particles get absorbed into our organs, tissues and cells and affect our health. In 2021, we will finally discover whether microplastic particles make it into our blood – the gateway to our organs and tissues – and, crucially, if they can infiltrate our cells.

“We’re very, very close,” says Juliette Legler at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Legler is involved in two of four new research projects being funded by the European Commission that are investigating the impact of microplastics on human health. “I expect breakthroughs in …