Close-up of a fiber with brightly colored pathogens beside it
Microplastics in Seawater May Harbor Parasites
Laboratory experiments find that Toxoplasma, Cryptosporidium, and Giardia can congregate on microplastic beads and fibers, suggesting they might make their way into and around the world’s oceans by hitching rides on tiny bits of trash.
ABOVE: University of California, Davis
Microplastics in Seawater May Harbor Parasites
Microplastics in Seawater May Harbor Parasites

Laboratory experiments find that Toxoplasma, Cryptosporidium, and Giardia can congregate on microplastic beads and fibers, suggesting they might make their way into and around the world’s oceans by hitching rides on tiny bits of trash.

Laboratory experiments find that Toxoplasma, Cryptosporidium, and Giardia can congregate on microplastic beads and fibers, suggesting they might make their way into and around the world’s oceans by hitching rides on tiny bits of trash.

ABOVE: University of California, Davis

microplastics

Photograph showing plastic waste polluting the beach
Book Excerpt from Thicker Than Water
Erica Cirino | Oct 1, 2021
In Chapter 5, "Pick Up the Pieces," author Erica Cirino investigates the potential health risks of the small plastic particles that permeate the planet.
Problem plastic bottles and microplastics floating in the open ocean
Opinion: Plastic Pollution May Endanger Brains
Erica Cirino | Oct 1, 2021
Plastic waste pervades every ecosystem on Earth and is likely affecting neurobiology as well.
Baby Bottles Can Shed Millions of Microplastic Particles: Study
Max Kozlov | Oct 19, 2020
The project did not assess any implications for children’s health, but the authors recommend changing up how parents use baby bottles to reduce the amount of plastic in formula or breastmilk.
microplastics drinking water
Microplastics in Drinking Water Don’t Threaten Human Health: WHO
Ashley P. Taylor | Aug 22, 2019
A new report finds no evidence of a current danger from microplastics, but the World Health Organization urges further research.
Organic Fertilizers Rife With Microplastics: Study
Shawna Williams | Apr 4, 2018
Converting biowaste to plant food is an overlooked source of tiny plastic pollutants, researchers say.
Contributors
Diana Kwon | Jun 1, 2017
Meet some of the people featured in the June 2017 issue of The Scientist.
Plastic Pollutants Pervade Water and Land
Ee Ling Ng | Jun 1, 2017
Contamination of marine and terrestrial ecosystems by microplastics is putting individual organisms at risk.
Infographic: Plastic Pollution
Ee Ling Ng | May 31, 2017
Both macroplastic items, such as bags, bottles, and other packaging, and products containing micro- and nanoplastic particles—from cosmetics to paints—contaminate the Earth’s ecosystems.
Infographic: Plastics’ Effects
Ee Ling Ng | May 31, 2017
Lab studies suggest that plastic pollutants in the environment could have detrimental effects on animals’ physiology.