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Microplastics ITRC Guidance Document and Training Available Soon!

Alia Enright | February 23, 2023

Why Care About Microplastics?

Microplastic particles have been found in nearly every corner of the globe, but health effects and toxicity are only beginning to be understood. Because of their ubiquitous nature, microplastics present a challenge in both accurate sampling and source attribution. Microplastics are emerging as an environmental issue that regulators and industry will be increasingly focusing on in the coming years.

TRC has been heavily involved in tracking microplastics as an emerging contaminant for the past several years by staying up to date with ongoing research and developments regarding microplastics’ environmental distribution, monitoring regulatory actions to microplastics, studying ecological risk and exploring remedial options. TRC is also partnering with universities and other research institutions to develop cutting-edge solutions for addressing microplastics for a wide range of industries and municipalities, and have recently initiated a new project for a confidential client focused on collecting and analyzing samples for microplastics and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

ITRC’s Microplastics Team

This guidance document was created by the Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC) Microplastics team that was formed in January 2021 to create a guidance document to consolidate and communicate the current state of the science for microplastics as an emerging contaminant. In addition, the ITRC team developed training to prepare environmental professionals to address the diverse challenges of microplastics.

ITRC’s team of regulators, researchers, consultants industry and the general public volunteered their time to collaborate through a variety of virtual and in-person discussions and knowledge-sharing sessions to track and understand the wide range of ongoing microplastics research, and compile it into a digestible, comprehensive guidance document. The draft guidance document was sent out for external review to a group of microplastics experts and regulators for review and comment, and their feedback was incorporated into the final document.

The following TRC staff contributed significantly to the ITRC Microplastics guidance document and associated training:

  • Jenny Phillips, VP, Director of Technical Development and TRC Center of Research and Expertise (CORE), was a co-leader of the Human Health and Ecological Effects chapter of the guidance document.
  • Alia Enright, Project Engineer, was a contributing writer to the Sampling and Analysis chapter of the Microplastics guidance document, developed the document’s online Sample Collection Tool, and is one of the trainers for the online training webinars.

What Does the Guidance Document Cover?

The guidance document was created to consolidate the state of the science to assist regulators and other decision makers in developing their own methodology to evaluate, regulate and respond to this emerging contaminant.

The online guidance document and associated training covers the following topics:

  • Introduction to microplastics, including their sources and characteristics
  • Fate, transport and environmental distribution
  • Sampling and analysis
  • Ecological and human health effects
  • Regulations
  • Mitigation, abatement and best management practices
  • Data gaps and ongoing research needs
  • Case studies

When Are Guidance and Training Available?

Want to Get Involved?

The team will continue its work under a new name:  ITRC Microplastics Outreach Toolkit team. The focus of this team will be to develop a toolkit for communicating microplastics issues to the general public. This ITRC team is looking for new members, so please consider joining if you’re interested in continuing to stay up to date on this emerging topic!

TRC is prepared to assist you with your microplastics-related questions. For more information, please contact our expert below.

Alia Enright

Alia Enright leads TRC’s internal Center of Research and Expertise (CORE) Emerging Contaminants team and has presented several workshops on microplastics. She is a senior project engineer and Technical Development Unit (TDU) deputy in the Lakewood, Colorado office. She started her environmental engineering career at TRC in 2015 as an intern in the Madison, Wisconsin office.
Additionally, Alia has recently transitioned to becoming a TDU deputy on top of her project work. Her main responsibilities include site investigation and sampling of a variety of media; investigations involving emerging contaminants; technical reporting; remedial options/feasibility study engineering evaluations; and project management. Alia also leads TRC’s CORE Microplastics Sub Team. Contact Alia at

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