Microplastics Occurrence, Health Effects, and Mitigation Policies: An Evidence Review for the California State Legislature

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This report responds to a joint request from the California Senate Committee on Environmental Quality and the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources for evidence concerning human health effects of microplastics and public policies related to microplastics prevention and mitigation. Research was conducted by the California State Policy Evidence Consortium (CalSPEC), an independent program administered through the University of California Center Sacramento (UCCS) and composed of faculty, staff, and graduate student researchers across UC campuses who evaluate evidence to inform public policy deliberations. This report addresses three overarching questions:

  1. What are microplastics and how abundant are they in the environment?
  2. What are the human health effects from microplastics exposure?
  3. What government actions have addressed microplastics, and to what extent have the policies succeeded in reducing microplastics in the environment?

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