Microplastics & Health - Expanding MOMENTUM (MOMENTUM 2.0)

The use of plastic materials, such as packaging, textiles and rubber tyres, can lead to the release of small plastic particles into the environment, micro- and nanoplastic particles (MNPs). MNPs have been found in our environment and in our bodies. We still know little about the potential health risks of MNPs.

MOMENTUM 2.0 is a follow-up to the 3-year MOMENTUM project to assess the human health risks of MNPs.


In this project, researchers from universities, academic hospitals, and research organisations will collaborate with companies and key stakeholders with the aim of determining the risks of MNPs to human health. MNPs will be measured in the human body and their effects on our immune system and on the development of chronic diseases will be investigated. The project also examines whether pathogens, such as bacteria or viruses, are attached to MNPs. The knowledge obtained will contribute to a sound integrated approach to predicting and preventing possible health effects of exposure to MNPs.

The 5 main objectives of MOMENTUM 2.0 are:

  1. To perform a provisional risk assessment of MNPs;
  2. To develop standardized virgin and weathered MNPs for further testing;
  3. To determine the health effects of MNP exposure;
  4. To further build solution routes to reduce impacts on human health;
  5. To create impact by establishing the MOMENTUM-NL partnership.

Collaboration partners

This project is carried out by prof. dr. ir. J. Legler and colleagues from Utrecht University in collaboration  with colleagues from:

  • 9 universities: Maastricht University, Wageningen University, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Groningen University, University Hasselt, Open Universiteit, University of Twente, Radboud University, Emory University.
  • 2 medical center: UMC Utrecht and Erasmus MC.
  • 4 research organisations: TNO, Deltares, KWR, RIVM and CBmed GmbH.
  • 10 companies: Malvern Panalytical, Vitrocell Systems GmbH, Bruker Nederland BV, Nanonium GmbH, Plastics Europe, American Chemistry Council, Antea Nederland BV, Avantium, LyondellBasell Industries Holdings BV.

In addition, MOMENTUM 2.0 will collaborate with 7 ‘breakthrough projects’, which are awarded funding in 2023.

(Expected) results

MOMENTUM 2.0 will generate standardized MNPs and approaches to studying the health impacts of MNPs, as well as a wealth of data on the exposure and effects of MNPs in humans. The outcome of this work will be an integrated risk assessment of MNPs, with the aim to cover chemical, particle, and microbiological components. New solution routes and policy options for risk management of MNPs will be developed, including options for setting human and environmental quality risk limits.


MOMENTUM builds a sustainable partnership; the ‘Netherlands Centre for Microplastics and Health Research and Innovation’ (MOMENTUM-NL), in which all national initiatives come together. Together they will establish a collaborative vision on research and innovation based on the health impact assessment framework that will lay the groundwork for long-term scientific, societal, and economic impacts.

More information

Read more about the potential health risks of MNPs on our webpage Microplastics. Have a look at the website van MOMENTUM.


Project number:
Duration: 29%
Duration: 29 %
Part of programme:
Project lead and secretary:
prof. dr. ir. J. Legler
Responsible organisation:
Universiteit Utrecht


Need more inforamtion about the project? See the contacts below.


Frank Pierik

Programme Manager
MicroplasticsHealth [at] zonmw.nl

Marije van der Kamp

Programme Secretary
MicroplasticsHealth [at] zonmw.nl