"Microplastics are a ticking timebomb for litigation"

Published on 25 March 2022

International law firm RPC warns a 'rising tide' of claims relating to microplastic pollution can be expected.

Commenting on today's news that microplastics have been found in human blood for the first time, RPC Partner Lucy Dyson, who specialises in complex casualty (re)insurance and litigation, said:

"Microplastics - tiny fragments of plastics which break down over time - are a ticking time bomb for litigation.  There is much concern that the ingestion of microplastics causes damage to human and animal cells (it is estimated that humans are now ingesting a credit card sized amount each week).  

"They are everywhere – in the atmosphere, water courses and the food chain. The plastic pollution crisis that the planet faces is intertwined with climate change, given plastics are derived from fossil fuels. 

"Earlier this month, the UN agreed a global treaty to combat plastic pollution, in order to address viable alternatives and the lifecycle of plastics. 

"We can certainly expect a rising tide of litigation in relation to microplastic pollution. There are already cases afoot in the USA against manufacturers, multinational companies using plastic products, including allegations of nuisance, negligence and false advertising. 

"This is all against a backdrop of rising group litigation and collective redress globally in relation to the environment and social inflation factors.

"We can also expect shareholder claims in relation to inaccurate statements by companies concerning the biodegradability of products."

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