In a world that uses plastics in almost every aspect of life, microplastics have become an emerging concern in the context of human health. Known to have cytotoxic effects on life, these particles have been detected in our water systems, including both wastewater treatment plants, and drinking water treatment plants. Additionally, the proliferation of heavy metals is an ongoing issue in modern water infrastructure. Thus, the goal of this paper is to explore the effects of microplastics and heavy metals on our health, how they infiltrate the water supply, how we can mitigate their proliferation, and obstacles in implementing change in our infrastructure. Although the full effects of microplastics on humans are not yet known, it is clear they pose a risk, as they have been linked to genotoxicity, inflammation, cytotoxicity, and more. The effects of heavy metal exposure are well known to cause health problems in humans. The use of membrane bioreactors, magnetic-based separation, and point-of-use devices can help mitigate their infiltration into the human body, and governmental efforts are necessary to implement the changes needed in our infrastructure to deal with this pollution.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 4-30-2023


Dr. Bryan D. Dyer

Mentor Department Affiliation

Applied Engineering and Technology

Access Options

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Applied Engineering and Technology