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Yanxia Zhang


Current position: Associate Professor, School of Environment, Nanjing Normal University, China

During her AIAS-COFUND Fellowship, Yanxia Zhang worked on the project 'Exploring phthalate contamination of globally traded vegetables produced in plastic Greenhouses'

Project description

The use of plastic films in agricultural systems outside Europe has increased phthalate contamination in food, such as Vegetables grown in Plastic Greenhouses (VPGs) in China. VPGs in China are not subject to REACH regulations, thereby posing a risk of adverse health effects caused by phthalate contamination from traded food into the EU. This project will propose four objectives: 1) Quantifying the risk cycle of phthalate transfer driven by food trade between the EU and China; 2) Quantifying phthalate exposure caused by consuming VPGs imported from China and the proportion of total daily phthalate exposure; 3) Quantifying health impacts associated with phthalate exposure from VPG consumption traded with China; and 4) Verifying whether existing regulations in the EU, and country-specific regulations, protect humans from exposure to phthalates and if not, to provide science-based support for alternative policy measures. The proposed research has the potential to supplement our understanding of phthalate exposure from international food trade. Results of this project will inspire new insights into the environmental management of global plasticulture from a life cycle perspective. 

Project title:

Exploring phthalate contamination of globally traded vegetables produced in plastic Greenhouses

Area of research:

Environmental Science

Fellowship period:

1 Jun 2021 - 31 May 2023

Fellowship type

AIAS-COFUND Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow

This fellowship has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 754513 and The Aarhus University Research Foundation.