No Plastic Waste23 Nov 2022

How is plastic exposure impacting our health?

Australians are exposed to plastic chemicals daily and a new study is investigating the impact on human health.

Reduce plastic waste exposure. Photo Credit: Carl Court via Getty Images AsiaPac.

Professor Michaela Lucas, from The University of Western Australia’s Medical School, is leading the trial looking at the levels of plastic chemicals in the bodies of adults and testing whether exposure can reduce, by changing what we eat, and what personal care products we use.

“Plastic chemicals can be found in the products we put on our skin, clothing we wear, the air we breathe, the food we eat and more,” Professor Lucas said.

“While there is emerging evidence of harm from a small number of plastic chemicals, there is much that we do not know particularly about the precise ways in which these plastic chemicals cause harm.”

Rising rates of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and other chronic conditions have coincided with the increased use of synthetic chemicals in our environment and lives.

“We need to start to think outside the box and measure the impact of environmental exposure and examine the role plastics exposure may play,” Professor Lucas said.

“This research will help us find out more about the health impacts of plastic chemical exposure.”

The Minderoo Foundation has funded the study, which is being carried out by a team of UWA researchers, doctors, dietitians, nurses and scientists.

“This is the first time such a detailed study has been conducted anywhere, so this is an exciting opportunity for WA research to stand out on the international stage and lead global change,” Professor Lucas said.

“If we discover plastic chemicals in our day-to-day lives are directly impacting our health, we could expect policy change. We are already seeing single-use plastic items being banned to protect our environment, so we know it can be done and Western Australians support change.”

The PERTH Trial is looking to recruit adults aged 18 to 60 years in the Perth metropolitan area. Visit the PERTH Trial website to see participant inclusion criteria and express your interest.

This article was originally published by UWA

Minderoo Foundation
by Minderoo Foundation

Established by Andrew and Nicola Forrest in 2001, we are a modern philanthropic organisation seeking to break down barriers, innovate and drive positive, lasting change. Minderoo Foundation is proudly Australian, with key initiatives spanning from ocean research and ending slavery, to collaboration in cancer and community projects.

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