Virtual Workshop on Microplastics: Health and Environmental Issues / 10 August 2023 – PAHO/WHO

General context

Microplastics are very small plastic particles less than 5mm in size, made up of mixtures of polymers and additives that can be toxic. Three-quarters of plastic waste was thrown into landfills and became part of poorly managed waste streams, polluting the environment and especially the sea. Another important source of microplastics is the washing of synthetic clothing, which accounts for a third of the microplastics in the oceans.

Microplastics remain in the environment for decades, especially in bodies of water such as the oceans. They can affect human health either through inhalation or ingestion when entering the human food chain. Its health effects have been associated with various diseases, mainly related to changes in the endocrine system.

The health threat posed by microplastics has led the Pan American Health Organization to list them as an environmental determinant of health and promote best recycling practices and reduce the use of single-use plastics.


At the webinar Oceans without plastic waste organized by AIDIS/DIRSA on April 27, 2023, it was concluded that there is a need to address the problem of plastic waste and microplastics, taking into account the life cycle of this material, taking into account its impact on health and the environment at all stages. Similarly, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has called for recognition of the impact of microplastics due to its growing increase in the environment.


Learn and discuss issues in Latin America and the Caribbean related to microplastic waste, health and the environment.

how to see it

Participation will be via Zoom. There will be simultaneous translation from English into Spanish at the event.



Welcoming words

Luis Francisco Sánchez (PAHO), Jordi Pon (UNEP), José Luis Inglese (AIDIS, President).


Juan Martin Kutujian (AIDIS, Technical Vice President).

How does microplastic affect the quality of the environment?

Geordie Pon (UNEP).

What are the challenges of managing plastic waste to help reduce microplastics?

Marcos Alegre (AIDIS/DIRSA). Presentation of the results of the virtual workshop “Oceans without plastic”, organized on April 27, 2023 by AIDIS/DIRSA.

Why is microplastic becoming an important determinant of health?


What health risks are associated with microplastics?

Luis Francisco Sanchez Otero (PAHO).

Panel “Microplastics: Challenges for Health and the Environment”.

Luis Francisco Sánchez Otero (PAHO), Jordi Pon (UNEP), Marcos Alegre (IDIS/DIRSA).

Summary and Closing

Laura Romero (PAHO).

* The composition of the participants is being specified.

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