Recently, studies on microplastics (MPs) have increased rapidly due to the growing awareness of the potential health risks related to their occurrence. The first part of this review is devoted to MP occurrence, distribution, and quantification. MPs can be transferred from the environment to humans mainly through inhalation, secondly from ingestion, and, to a lesser extent, through dermal contact. As regards food web contamination, we discuss the microplastic presence not only in the most investigated sources, such as seafood, drinking water, and salts, but also in other foods such as honey, sugar, milk, fruit, and meat (chickens, cows, and pigs). All literature data suggest not-negligible human exposure to MPs through the above-mentioned routes. Consequently, several research efforts have been devoted to assessing potential human health risks. Initially, toxicological studies were conducted with aquatic organisms and then with experimental mammal animal models and human cell cultures. In the latter case, toxicological effects were observed at high concentrations of MPs (polystyrene is the most common MP benchmark) for a short time. Further studies must be performed to assess the real consequences of MP contamination at low concentrations and prolonged exposure.
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