Cefic-lri Programme | European Chemical Industry Council

LRI B26: Dermal exposure to Microplastics, a literature review


The uptake of particulate matter through the dermal layers has been shown to be size-limited.  Previous research on nanoparticles and other particulate matter has been conducted and has shown that 40 nm may be the upper limit of uptake through intact skin.  It is unknown if there are properties of micro and nanoplastics (MNP) that would change the size limit of 40 nm?  For example, microplastic rods/flocks may be able to penetrate the skin functioning as needles.  Are there other shapes that may challenge an upper limit cut-off or other properties (hydrophobicity, charge, etc) that may challenge the size-limited uptake of MNP in intact skin.


This project is a paper-based exercise in which the scientific literature should be reviewed and a summary report prepared.

The project’s objectives are to:

  1. Determine if dermal uptake of MNP has a size-limited threshold.
  2. Investigate if there are properties of the plastic that would impact the uptake threshold (e.g. shape, chemical property)
  3. Prepare a report on the upper limit of dermal uptake detailing what uncertainty exists from the literature.


Reliable scientific publications should form the basis of the evaluation.  Read across from other particulate matter is encouraged and a detailed explanation should be given if it is not considered relevant.

MNP are defined as plastic particles with a size less than 5 mm. All types of synthetic solid plastic polymeric materials are in scope.


The final report shall contain an executive summary (2 pages max), a main part (max. 50 pages), and a detailed bibliography. It is expected that the findings will be developed into at least one peer-reviewed publication, following poster(s) and/or presentation(s) at asuitable scientific conference(s). Participation in activities of the “Microplastics Advanced Research and Innovation Initiative” (MARII) is requested.

Partnering / Co-funding

Applicants should provide an indication of additional partners and funding opportunities that can be appropriately leveraged as part of their proposal.  Partners can include, but are not limited to industry, government/regulatory organizations, research institutes, etc. Statements from potential partners should be included in the proposal package.

Fit with LRI objectives / Possible regulatory and policy impact involvements / Dissemination




 Please see www.cefic-lri.org/funding-opportunities/apply-for-a-grant/ for general LRI objectives information, project proposal form and further guidance for grant applications.



Timing: Q4 2024, duration 6 months

LRI funding: €20,000

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