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Recognizing the long-term impacts of plastic particles for preventing distortion in decision-making

Nathalie Gontard (), Grégoire David (), Alice Guilbert () and Joshua Sohn ()
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Nathalie Gontard: INRAE, French Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment, UMR 1208 IATE
Grégoire David: INRAE, French Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment, UMR 1208 IATE
Alice Guilbert: Tsinghua University
Joshua Sohn: SDU

Nature Sustainability, 2022, vol. 5, issue 6, 472-478

Abstract: Abstract There is a considerable knowledge gap regarding the long-term fate of plastics in the environment. Acknowledging this gap, in the context of life cycle assessment methods, is critical to account for the long-term fate of plastics in the decision-making process. Ignoring the long-term potential for environmental and health damage from plastic particles makes it difficult to defend a quantitative environmental assessment comparing fossil-based conventional plastics with other alternative materials. This Review highlights that the addition of a plastic particulate footprint as a midpoint impact indicator in life cycle assessments should be considered to quantify these overlooked long-term impacts.

Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1038/s41893-022-00863-2

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