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Transport and release of chemicals from plastics to the environment and to wildlife
University of Plymouth.
North Carolina State University.
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2009 (English)In: PHILOSOPHICAL TRANSACTIONS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, ISSN 0962-8436, Vol. 364, no 1526, 2027-2045 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Plastics debris in the marine environment, including resin pellets, fragments and microscopic plastic fragments, contain organic contaminants, including polychlorinated biphenyls ( PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, petroleum hydrocarbons, organochlorine pesticides (2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)-1,1,1-trichloroethane, hexachlorinated hexanes), polybrominated diphenylethers, alkylphenols and bisphenol A, at concentrations from sub ng g(-1) to mg g(-1). Some of these compounds are added during plastics manufacture, while others adsorb from the surrounding seawater. Concentrations of hydrophobic contaminants adsorbed on plastics showed distinct spatial variations reflecting global pollution patterns. Model calculations and experimental observations consistently show that polyethylene accumulates more organic contaminants than other plastics such as polypropylene and polyvinyl chloride. Both a mathematical model using equilibrium partitioning and experimental data have demonstrated the transfer of contaminants from plastic to organisms. A feeding experiment indicated that PCBs could transfer from contaminated plastics to streaked shearwater chicks. Plasticizers, other plastics additives and constitutional monomers also present potential threats in terrestrial environments because they can leach from waste disposal sites into groundwater and/or surface waters. Leaching and degradation of plasticizers and polymers are complex phenomena dependent on environmental conditions in the landfill and the chemical properties of each additive. Bisphenol A concentrations in leachates from municipal waste disposal sites in tropical Asia ranged from sub mu g l(-1) to mg l(-1) and were correlated with the level of economic development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 364, no 1526, 2027-2045 p.
Keyword [en]
marine plastic debris, plastic resin pellet, microplastics, landfill leachate, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, persistent organic pollutants
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-19655DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2008.0284OAI: diva2:227220
Available from: 2009-07-10 Created: 2009-07-10 Last updated: 2009-07-10

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Jonsson, SusanneBjörn (Fredriksson), Annika
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Department of Water and Environmental StudiesFaculty of Arts and Sciences
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