Research into the impact of microplastics on women's health

Women aged 18-45 from the Utrecht region can sign up to participate

How many microplastics do you ingest every day? You do not only breathe them, but they also enter your body in large quantities through food, drinks and cosmetics, among other things. It is still unknown how harmful microplastics are. The fact that they are present in your body and even end up in the placenta and amniotic fluid of pregnant women is cause for concern, according to researchers.

A pregnant woman and a fetus are often more vulnerable to pollution exposure. We would like to know more about the impact of microplastics on their health.

The placenta is a sensitive and important organ for mother and child. A pregnant woman and a fetus are often more vulnerable to pollution exposure. This raises the question of whether microplastics can affect the growth and development of the child. Utrecht researchers will investigate this further and you can also participate in this study.

Together with 100 women from the Utrecht region, aged 18-45, researchers from UMC Utrecht and Utrecht University will map how many microplastics are present in their bodies and what the impact of external factors is.

What to expect?

The researchers will visit you a number of times during the four-month study. This visit takes about 30-60 minutes.

  • They measure the amount of microplastics in your body by means of blood and urine tests;
  • They collect dust in your home and measure how many microplastics it contains;
  • They use questionnaires to map out the influence of external factors, such as eating habits, food packaging and clothing.

What does the research yield?

After about a year, the researchers will share the results of the study.

  • The research provides insight into the sources of microplastics to which people are exposed;
  • It provides you with information about your personal exposure to microplastics and how this compares to other households;
  • The results of the research can be used to develop guidelines that help to reduce microplastics;
  • The results have an impact on future studies into the possible health risks of microplastics.

How can I apply?

You can sign up via the registration form of AURORA, as the European research project is called. After you have registered for the study, the researchers will contact you and you will receive more information about the study. They will clarify how they collect, use and store your data. But also how they protect your privacy. Then you can make a final choice.

For your participation you will receive a card worth 25 euros.

What are Microplastics?

Microplastics are just very small pieces of plastic. They’re defined as any piece of plastic that is smaller than 5 millimeters (0.2 inches) in length They come from larger plastic products, such as plastic drinking bottles and plastic containers. They can be found almost everywhere: from deep in the sea to high in the mountains. And therefore also in your body and living environment.

You excrete most of the microplastics that end up in your body. But recent research has shown that a small portion enters your bloodstream. Via the blood they can then end up in every part of your body and possibly contribute to health damage.