Medical association chief calls for laws to curb microplastics for health reasons after survey finds Malaysians have highest consumption

KUALA LUMPUR, June 22 — Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) president Dr Azizan Abdul Aziz has urged for laws to control plastic production and encourage the use of biodegradable materials, news portal Free Malaysia Today reported today.

She said the government should introduce laws similar to the no-plastic policy in 2020.

“Public awareness campaigns are also essential to educate people about the risks of microplastics and measures to reduce exposure,” she was quoted as saying.

She also called for funding research to enhance understanding of the health effects of microplastics and to develop effective strategies to mitigate them.


Dr Azizan said microplastics — which are plastic particles smaller than 5mm — can enter the human body through various routes such as food and water consumption.

“These microplastics can contain toxic chemicals such as phthalates and bisphenol A, which can leach into the body and cause hormonal disruptions, reproductive issues and other health problems.

“Ingested microplastics can also cause inflammation and irritation in the gastrointestinal tract, potentially leading to digestive issues and other inflammatory diseases of the gut,” she was quoted as saying.


She also explained that microplastics have the potential to induce oxidative stress and cellular damage, potentially contributing to chronic diseases such as cancer.

She said Malaysia’s high consumption of seafood and extensive use of plastic products significantly increase the exposure to microplastics.

“As plastic production and waste increase, so does the number of microplastics in the environment, leading to higher ingestion rates in the future,” she was quoted as saying.

She emphasised the need to enhance waste management systems to decrease plastic pollution and improve recycling efforts.

On June 7, Singapore daily The Straits Times reported that a study in the Environmental Science and Technology journal revealed Malaysians ingest an average of 502.3mg of microplastics per person each day.

The study found Malaysia was highest among 109 countries in terms of microplastic consumption and was among the top 10 countries where citizens inhale the most microplastic particles.

It noted that more than 50 per cent of Malaysia’s microplastic consumption was from eating fish.

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