Plastic Health Summit 2021 : One Health
plastic health summit event amsterdam

On October 21st 2021, the Plastic Soup Foundation organized the second-ever Plastic Health Summit in Amsterdam. For this event, the focus was about One Health, and how environmental health and human health are inextricably linked.

The videos of the event are now available on our Youtube channel. The next Plastic Health Summit will happen in April 2023. More details about the event will follow shortly.

For more information, visit the Plastic Soup Foundation website.

A critical time for environmental and human health

Right now, we find ourselves at a critical moment. We can no longer pretend that damaging behaviour towards the planet advances human health and development – in fact, the opposite is true. But it’s hard to imagine a world without plastic. There’s hardly a way around it: we eat, drink and breathe micro- and nanoplastics – and their harmful chemical additives – every. single. day. What is that doing to our health?

Speakers from all parts of the world have presented groundbreaking science, about the status of our exposure, environmental justice and plastics up close and personal. During the event, we also introduced you to some of our heroes, the next generation, with promising solutions to the problem. They can show us that NOW is the time for action.

The Plastic Health Summit focused exclusively on the connection between plastic particles, plastic additives and human health. As always, we were able to distinguish ourselves by bringing together all stakeholders involved, from scientists and policymakers to politicians, citizens, influencers, NGOs, industry and innovators to collaboratively create a Healthy Future for All.

We’re facing the problem head-on. Because what’s at stake couldn’t be more important: the health of our planet, our health, the next generation’s health. One Health.

Looking back at the 2021 Plastic Health Summit
plastic health summit program

More groundbreaking research is needed, and we believe that information on plastic and human health should be easily accessible and widely publicised.

Bringing together all stakeholders involved, we’ll focus on four different aspects of One Health.

Exposure to plastics and toxicity on the human body

Science is at the core of the Plastic Health Summit, and so the first segment of the summit will rightfully focus on scientific talks and research. Taking a look at human exposure to micro- and nanoplastics, we’ll discuss how the omnipresence of plastic in our daily lives may have worse toxic effects on our bodies than we ever imagined.

Recent events have brought the question more often than ever: can contagious diseases travel around the world by latching on to marine plastic pollution? Spoiler alert: yes, they can.

Scientists from around the world will share their latest findings on the effects of plastics on blood, epidemiology, fetal development, hormone-related disorders and cancers.

It sounds scary, we know. But broadening our understanding of how plastic affects our health is urgently needed.

Plastic, Environmental Health and Justice

Plastic production and use is inextricably linked to climate change, and the people who suffer the most from the effects of both are often the same. In this second part of the Plastic Health Summit, we’ll zoom out from the scientific view and look at more personal issues of environmental health injustice.

In this moving section, we’ll look at how plastic travels around the world, leaving a trail of pollution and despair in developing countries, and at the adverse health effects it has among vulnerable groups such as developing children.

With discussing environmental health and justice, we get to understand that the issue of plastic and health is a lot bigger than just you and me.

Plastic and Me: how plastic affects everyone

In this third section of the summit, we’ll get close and personal. Plastic makes people suffer, whether we see it or not. It does not only impact scientists, researchers, or policymakers: it affects everyone of us.

Sharing personal stories about people and plastic, we’ll discuss how we can make a pediatric department plastic-free, without affecting hygiene and safety. We will also discuss what silicone breast implants can do to a person’s wellbeing, or how we can continue to enjoy take-out food without contributing ridiculous amounts of single-use plastic to the waste stream.

One Health for the Next Generation

We’ll end with a wake-up call, introducing young heroes who show us that now is the time for action.

When the people of 2130 look back at us, will they see a great success and wonder ‘why did people ever extract oil from the ground to make a convenient but harmful substance’? Or will it be too late?

If we follow in those young heroes footsteps, maybe we can find a way out of this mess.

Watch the videos from the Plastic Health Summit online

All the videos from the 2021 speakers are now available on our Youtube channel.

Watch the videos

Looking back at the Plastic Health Summit 2019

During the first-ever global Plastic Health Summit, we brought together a host of leading scientists, policymakers, influencers, and innovators, united in one common goal: the search for answers to questions which have not yet been asked, answers that can make the difference for our children in the near future.

The summit had a total of 36 speakers from 14 different nationalities who shared their experience and knowledge throughout the day. Before, during and after the event, our message reached more than 2 billion people around the world. And we reached 12 million people through social media, excluding Instagram.

Weren’t you able to attend this event? Below you will find a playlist with all the videos of the day, including the round-table session that was live-streamed on the day, as well as the individual presentations.


Plenaire opening

Plenary Opening

Maria Westerbos, founder & managing director of the Plastic Soup Foundation; and Cyrill Gutsch, founder & CEO of Parley for the Oceans, gave a word of welcome. Professor Dick Vethaak opened the summit with a keynote speech.

Science talks on microplastics by ZonMw

The first round of science talks at the summit focused on the impact of microplastics in our bodies.

Science talks on additives

The second round of science talks was organized by the Plastic Soup Foundation and addressed the health effects of additives commonly used in plastic.

Breakout Session: Policy & Advocacy

The breakout session on Policy and Advocacy addressed the use and regulation of toxic additives in plastic.

Breakout Session: Influencers

The Influencer breakout session was led by speakers who have turned words into deeds, and in doing so, have inspired audiences across the world to take action against our excessive use of plastic.

Plenary Session: Solutions

This session brought the conference to an end on a hopeful note: there are innovators and organizations developing tangible solutions.

Round table Discussion