Sources, analysis, and health implications of atmospheric microplastics

Mushtaq AHMAD, Jing CHEN, Muhammad Tariq KHAN, Qing YU, Worradorn PHAIRUANG, Masami FURUUCHI, Syed Weqas ALI, Asim Nawab, Sirima PANYAMETHEEKUL

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Microplastics (MPs) are emerging environmental contaminants pervasive in the environment. Studies have revealed that the majority of airborne MPs are in the form of fiber. Inhaled atmospheric MPs adversely impact human health, causing inflammation and oxidative stress. Atmospheric MPs may also carry hazardous chemical pollutants in addition to heavy metals. Many research studies have been conducted about MPs’ presence in the environmental components, however questions about the presence and identification of atmospheric MPs remained unanswered. Based on the mentioned research gaps, this study examined the sources and abundance of MPs in the atmosphere and their generation, accumulation, and fate. The paper further studies and evaluates current methods for identifying and assessing airborne MPs and their impact on human health and the environment. According to the study findings, there are flaws and complexity in MPs assessment and technical procedures, which further challenges data comparability and dependability. In order to ensure data comparability and reliability, the abundance of atmospheric MPs needs to be expressed using a unified and standard methodology. Innovative and well-established identification methods, strategies to minimize the impacts of MPs, and appropriate steps to reduce this global pollution are required for the current state of MPs. It also provides an overview of atmospheric MPs' characteristics, sources, and airborne transmission and deposition mechanisms. Advances in bacterial degradation, sunlight-driven photocatalysts, fuels, and biodegradable plastics could revolutionize future studies on reducing plastic pollution. Future studies should include more research on the various aspects of atmospheric MPs. Despite several research studies conducted on the presence and identification of MPs in various environmental components, many questions regarding MPs in the atmosphere and from the perspectives of COVID-19 and One Health still need to be answered. This study will help the key stakeholders and policymakers in safeguarding public health and environment from the threats posed by airborne MPs. Copyright © 2023 The Authors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100233
JournalEmerging Contaminants
Issue number3
Early online dateMay 2023
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


Ahmad, M., Chen, J., Khan, M. T., Yu, Q., Phairuang, W., Furuuchi, M., . . . Panyametheekul, S. (2023). Sources, analysis, and health implications of atmospheric microplastics. Emerging Contaminants, 9(3). Retrieved from


  • Microplastics
  • Human health
  • Analysis method
  • Degradation
  • COVID-19
  • PG student publication


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