MORE than 80 leading scientists, MPs and campaigners have called on the Government for "urgent" action as they warn about the dangers of plastic waste on health.
The group, which includes environmental experts, warns in recent years evidence has shown plastic waste can lead to chronic diseases.
But despite finding the material in the air, water and food, little research has been carried out to understand what this means for human health.
There are fears plastic pollution could affect fertility and the immune system, and can induce chronic diseases including diabetes.
Leading UK scientists, including Professor Susan Jobling, Professor Tamara Galloway and Dr Stephanie Wright, have joined the call urging the Government to address this "chronically underfunded" area of research.
Meanwhile MPs Henry Smith, Mick Whitley, and Rosie Cooper have also joined the list of signatories lending their support to a research group into the effects of plastic.
The group have written to Boris Johnson in a bid to secure £15m for a National Plastic Health Impact Research Fund.
The letter read: "When plastic gets into the body, it can spread. Particles emitted from plastic prosthetic implants have been found in human organs like the liver, spleen and placenta.
"Research has also shown how plastic particles may harm our immune system.
"Micro and nano-plastic pollution is associated with chronic disease including diabetes, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases."
The funding drive comes from environmental group Common Seas and is backed by charities Greenpeace, WWF, Friends of the Earth and the National Federation of Women’s Institutes.
A spokesman said: "Within the next 20 years, £1.6 trillion will be invested in plastic production, doubling the amount generated and significantly increasing our exposure to plastic.
"The National Plastic Health Impact Research Fund requires a commitment of just 0.1 percent of the UK’s total spend on research and development."
Jo Royle, Founder of Common Seas said: “We breathe in, drink and eat plastic particles every day.
"As plastic production skyrockets so does our exposure. The scientists are worried that plastic may harm our immune system and increase chronic illnesses, like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. We all have a right to know what plastic is doing to our bodies.
“Whitehall recently announced its commitment to making Britain a world leader in R&D in health and life sciences. We are asking the Government to lead the investigation into what could become one of the most profound public health challenges in generations.”
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