Risks of Plastic Debris: Unravelling Fact, Opinion, Perception, and Belief

Albert A. Koelmans*, Ellen Besseling, Edwin Foekema, Merel Kooi, Svenja Mintenig, Bernadette C. Ossendorp, Paula E. Redondo-Hasselerharm, Anja Verschoor, Annemarie P. van Wezel, Marten Scheffer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

163 Citations (Scopus)


Researcher and media alarms have caused plastic debris to be perceived as a major threat to humans and animals. However, although the waste of plastic in the environment is clearly undesirable for aesthetic and economic reasons, the actual environmental risks of different plastics and their associated chemicals remain largely unknown. Here we show how a systematic assessment of adverse outcome pathways based on ecologically relevant metrics for exposure and effect can bring risk assessment within reach. Results of such an assessment will help to respond to the current public worry in a balanced way and allow policy makers to take measures for scientifically sound reasons.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11513-11519
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number20
Early online date3 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


Dive into the research topics of 'Risks of Plastic Debris: Unravelling Fact, Opinion, Perception, and Belief'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this