Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Microplastics' may pose previously unrecognized pollution threat

Date:
November 2, 2007
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Microscopic particles of plastic debris that litter marine environments may pose a previously unrecognized threat to marine animals by attracting, holding, and transporting water pollutants, according to a new study. The finding suggests that microplastics are an important agent in the transport of pollutants in marine organisms and throughout the global environment, the researchers say.

Submicroscopic particles of PVC (shown via electron microscope) and other plastics may pose a previously unrecognized pollution threat.
Credit: Courtesy of Emma Teuten, University of Plymouth, UK

Microscopic particles of plastic debris that litter marine environments may pose a previously unrecognized threat to marine animals by attracting, holding, and transporting water pollutants, a new study by British researchers is reporting. 

Related Articles


Emma L. Teuten and colleagues note long-standing awareness that large pieces of plastic waste, including cargo wrapping sheet plastic and six-pack rings, can sicken and kill fish, birds, turtles and other animals.

Seawater eventually breaks down these large pieces into microplastics, which can adsorb high levels of PCBs and other toxins. Microplastics also enter the environment directly from use as "scrubbers" in household and industrial cleaning products. However, little research has been done on the environmental impact of these tiny, pollution-packed pellets.

In the new study, researchers exposed several different types and sizes of microplastics to phenanthrene, a major marine pollutant, and used a model to predict their effects on a group of sediment-dwelling marine worms (lugworms).

The scientists found that addition of just a few millionths of a gram of contaminated microplastics to the sediments caused an 80% increase in phenanthrene accumulation in the tissues of the worms. Since lugworms are at the base of the food chain, phenanthrene from microplastics would be passed on and biomagnified in other marine animals.

The finding suggests that microplastics are an important agent in the transport of pollutants in marine organisms and throughout the global environment, the researchers say.

The study "Potential for Plastics to Transport Hydrophobic Contaminants" is scheduled for the Nov. 15 issue of ACS' Environmental Science & Technology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "'Microplastics' may pose previously unrecognized pollution threat." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 November 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071029092034.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2007, November 2). 'Microplastics' may pose previously unrecognized pollution threat. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071029092034.htm
American Chemical Society. "'Microplastics' may pose previously unrecognized pollution threat." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071029092034.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Antarctic sea ice isn't only expanding, it's thicker than previously thought, and scientists aren't sure exactly why. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) — A multinational group of scientists have released the first ever detailed, high-resolution 3-D maps of Antarctic sea ice. Using an underwater robot equipped with sonar, the researchers mapped the underside of a massive area of sea ice to gauge the impact of climate change. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) — A British solar power start-up says that by covering millions of existing car park spaces around the UK with flexible solar panels, the country's power problems could be solved. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yellow-Spotted Turtles Rescued from Trafficking

Yellow-Spotted Turtles Rescued from Trafficking

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) — Hundreds of Amazon River turtles released into the wild in Peru. Sharon Reich reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins