Modeling human exposure to microplastic

This project aimed to develop a probabilistic model for human exposure to microplastics.

Organized by Cefic

Researchers / Institutional Affiliations

Principal Investigator

  • Dr. Bart Koelmans
    Wageningen University
    (The Netherlands)




Summer 2022 to summer 2024 (Cefic Long-Range Research Initiative (LRI)) with two years’ additional funding from PlasticsEurope

Additional Information

This project builds on an existing model for human microplastics exposure published by Nor et al (2021). The Nor approach is a promising way to probabilistically model exposure – using a statistical approach to predict multiple possible outcomes – and predict microplastics concentrations in the human gut and body tissue. The updated model will provide direction to planned and ongoing research, offering qualitative and quantitative risk context. The project aims to: model microplastics with various size ranges (1 nm to 5 mm, with a primary focus on izes from 100 nm to 5 mm; 25,400,000 nm = 1 inch); cover a wide range of foods and inhalation sources, including dust; and develop a user-friendly model that allows non-experts to perform analyses. The updated model is intended to simulate concentrations of microplastics in human organs and circulation, for example, modeling particle concentrations in lungs, lymphatic system, blood, and liver. The project aims to provide a list of recommendation for experimental work to refine processes and model parameters.

Further details are available here.

Professional Presentations

Nor NHM, Koelmans AA. A conceptual model framework for the biodistribution of microplastics in the human body by using the Physiologically Based Pharamacokinetic (PBPK) model approach. EUROTOX: September 2023.

Published Papers

Wardani I, Nor NHM, Wright SL, Kooter IM, Kolemans AA (2024). Nano- and microplastic PBK modelling in the context of human exposure and risk assessment. Environment International: 108504; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2024.108504