May 29, 2023

The University of British Columbia's (UBC) Cluster for Microplastic, Health, and the Environment recently concluded its highly successful Microplastics Symposium. The two-day event provided UBC researchers with the opportunity to present their groundbreaking work aimed at mitigating the impact of microplastics on human health and the environment.

Attendees engaged in discussions and participated in informative presentations throughout the symposium. The event encompassed a diverse range of activities, including interactive workshops, enlightening laboratory tours, and fruitful conversations. Researchers from various disciplines shared their expertise, shedding light on pressing issues surrounding microplastics. The presentations explored the development of innovative techniques aimed at addressing the existing gaps in microplastic research, including carbon isotopes, magnetic levitation, autofluorescence spectroscopy and interferometric scattering microscopy. Other presentations also raised concerns about the potential impact of microplastics on human health, revealing that microplastics possess the ability to traverse the blood-brain barrier and investigating the generation of microplastics within the oral environment due to wearing dentures.

The symposium also fostered collaboration and knowledge exchange with partners from organizations such as Ocean Diagnostics Inc., North Island College, BC Research Inc., Metro Vancouver, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), and the Seattle Aquarium (Clean Seas Program). The partner workshop was a great opportunity for researchers at UBC and partners to align their research goals and explore potential collaborations. This workshop would not have been possible without the invaluable assistance of Beth Power and Clare Kilgour from Azimuth Consulting Group Inc. in organizing this workshop.

We extend our appreciation to everyone who contributed to the success of the Microplastics Symposium. Your active engagement and dedication to addressing the challenges in microplastic research have paved the way for impactful solutions.

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