BAM has developed a new and unique method for measuring microplastics in the environment. Environmental samples are heated up and the resulting gaseous decomposition products are analysed. Since plastics form specific decomposition products which differ from those of the environmental matrix, the type and quantity of the existing microplastics can be quickly determined. In order to test and optimise the analysis method, BAM scientists use model microplastics particles made of different plastics in specified environmental matrices. First measurement results on real environmental samples and evidence of microplastics contained in them are already available. This rapid analysis of extensive samples allows a comprehensive assessment of the volume, sources and longevity of microplastics in the environment. These are intended to help legislators to increase risk assessment and develop strategies for avoidance.