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Airborne microplastics: detection in environmental air samples, lung tissue and effects on cultured lung epithelial cells

Grant number: 19/02898-0
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: June 01, 2019 - May 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Collective Health - Public Health
Convênio/Acordo: Leiden University
Mobility Program: SPRINT - Projetos de pesquisa - Mobilidade
Principal Investigator:Thais Mauad
Grantee:Thais Mauad
Principal researcher abroad: Pieter S Hiemstra
Institution abroad: Universiteit Leiden, Netherlands
Host Institution: Faculdade de Medicina (FM). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated researchers:Luís Fernando Amato Lourenço
Associated research grant:13/21728-2 - The use of modern autopsy techniques to investigate human diseases (MODAU), AP.TEM


Plastic products are widely used in society and their degradation products (referred to as microplastics because of their small size) are an increasing cause for societal and scientific concern because of potential adverse effects on the environment and human health. A large number of studies have investigated distribution in water, and effects of microplastics on a range of aquatic organisms. However, microplastics are also present in the air and are inhaled by humans, which may cause adverse effects on the respiratory system. To date, there is limited information on their distribution, size and shape in environmental air samples. In addition, the potential for uptake by lung tissue, and subsequent adverse effects are largely unknown. In this proposal we will bring together researchers from environmental and respiratory sciences, aiming to build technical knowledge and discuss the use of state-of-the-art to detect microplastics in air samples and human lung tissue. In addition, we will address the technical challenges of studying (environmental) microplastic particles on cultured human lung cells. Given that this field or research has only recently emerged, the development and standardization of detection methods of microplastics in both air samples and lung tissue developed in this project will be extremely useful for other experts working in this field. Moreover, analysis of cellular effects will provide key insights into mechanisms of toxicity, and may help to define guidelines for exposure levels. (AU)

Articles published in Pesquisa FAPESP Magazine about the research grant:
Los impactos de los microplásticos sobre la salud humana 
The impacts of microplastics on human health 
La amenaza de los microplásticos 
The threat of microplastics 
Articles published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the research grant:
Articles published in other media outlets (0 total):
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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
AMATO-LOURENCO, LUIS FERNANDO; GALVAO, LUCIANA DOS SANTOS; DE WEGER, LETTY A.; HIEMSTRA, PIETER S.; VIJVER, MARTINA G.; MAUAD, THAIS. An emerging class of air pollutants: Potential effects of microplastics to respiratory human health?. Science of The Total Environment, v. 749, . (19/02898-0, 19/03397-5)

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