2 Senate panels holding hearing on microplastics in water

By Ellie Borst | 02/26/2024 06:26 AM EST

The Environment and Public Works subcommittees will study the presence of the tiny particles in drinking and waste water.


Nurdles and other microplastics seen through a microscope in a laboratory at the University of Plymouth in England. Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images

Senate lawmakers will question three microplastics experts this week on the widespread contamination of the tiny particles.

Two Environment and Public Works subcommittees — Chemical Safety, Waste Management, Environmental Justice and Regulatory Oversight alongside Fisheries, Water and Wildlife — will hold a joint hearing Tuesday on how plastics have become ubiquitous.

Microplastics, up to 5 millimeters long, and nanoplastics, usually anything smaller than 1 millimeter, can come from a range of different sources, such as degraded plastic products, polyester clothes or facial scrubs.


They have been detected in far reaches of the oceans and threaten marine species, like fish who mistake plastic pellets for food. Researchers have also found microplastics in human blood, lungs and testes, but little is known about how they affect health.
far reaches of the oceans