Environmental and health hazard ranking and assessment of plastic polymers based on chemical composition.
ABSTRACT Plastics constitute a large material group with a global annual production that has doubled in 15 years (245 million tonnes in 2008). Plastics are present everywhere in society and the environment, especially the marine environment, where large amounts of plastic waste accumulate. The knowledge of human and environmental hazards and risks from chemicals associated with the diversity of plastic products is very limited. Most chemicals used for producing plastic polymers are derived from non-renewable crude oil, and several are hazardous. These may be released during the production, use and disposal of the plastic product. In this study the environmental and health hazards of chemicals used in 55 thermoplastic and thermosetting polymers were identified and compiled. A hazard ranking model was developed for the hazard classes and categories in the EU classification and labelling (CLP) regulation which is based on the UN Globally Harmonized System. The polymers were ranked based on monomer hazard classifications, and initial assessments were made. The polymers that ranked as most hazardous are made of monomers classified as mutagenic and/or carcinogenic (category 1A or 1B). These belong to the polymer families of polyurethanes, polyacrylonitriles, polyvinyl chloride, epoxy resins, and styrenic copolymers. All have a large global annual production (1-37 million tonnes). A considerable number of polymers (31 out of 55) are made of monomers that belong to the two worst of the ranking model's five hazard levels, i.e. levels IV-V. The polymers that are made of level IV monomers and have a large global annual production (1-5 million tonnes) are phenol formaldehyde resins, unsaturated polyesters, polycarbonate, polymethyl methacrylate, and urea-formaldehyde resins. This study has identified hazardous substances used in polymer production for which the risks should be evaluated for decisions on the need for risk reduction measures, substitution, or even phase out.
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ABSTRACT: Recent advances in biodegradable polymers indicate significant developments in terms of novel design strategies and engineering to provide polymeric materials that possess critical functions of being able to be broken down and removed after they have served their function. Polymeric materials with desired physical, chemical, biological, biomechanical and degradation properties can now be made with precision to meet various challenges in the environment and biological systems. However, there are several inadequacies in terms of either technology or cost of production. Thus, there is a need to have a fresh look on the design, properties and functions of these polymers with a view to developing strategies for future developments. The present paper reviews the present status on biodegradable polymers and discusses the salient features of the chemistry of biodegradation, design strategies and applications of biodegradable polymeric materials.Materials Science and Technology 05/2014; 30(5):558-566. DOI:10.1179/1743284713Y.0000000472 · 0.80 Impact Factor
Article: The impact of debris on marine life[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Marine debris is listed among the major perceived threats to biodiversity, and is cause for particular concern due to its abundance, durability and persistence in the marine environment. An extensive literature search reviewed the current state of knowledge on the effects of marine debris on marine organisms. 340 original publications reported encounters between organisms and marine debris and 693 species. Plastic debris accounted for 92% of encounters between debris and individuals. Numerous direct and indirect consequences were recorded, with the potential for sublethal effects of ingestion an area of considerable uncertainty and concern. Comparison to the IUCN Red List highlighted that at least 17% of species affected by entanglement and ingestion were listed as threatened or near threatened. Hence where marine debris combines with other anthropogenic stressors it may affect populations, trophic interactions and assemblages. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.Marine Pollution Bulletin 02/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2014.12.041 · 2.79 Impact Factor
Conference Paper: Plastic fragments on the surface of Mediterranean waters[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The Mediterranean Sea is one of the most affected by floating plastic debris however few studies were performed on the impact of microplastics fragments. Data obtained up now suggests that neustonic microplastics are widespread in the North and CentralWestern Mediterranean Sea. The highest density (300,000 particles/ km2) detected during a survey in Ligurian Sea is of the same order of magnitude as that found in the North Pacific Gyre. Microplastics debris composed mainly of polyamides (53%), polystyrenes, polyolefins and polyesters, were present in all Manta tows. The size distribution frequency showed that fragments are of small size (1-2.5mm). The average ratio between microplastics and mesozooplankton surface area was 0.2 for the whole survey. Copepods were the most abundant organisms in the surface layer but neustonic mollusks and cladocerans were also abundant. Due to of the fragmentation, small microplastics may be ingested by organisms commonly unaffected by the larger marine debris. The magnitude, distribution and especially the potential impact of microplastics on the environment and their interactions with the biota need to be better assessed.CIESM 2014. Marine litter in the Mediterranean and Black Seas. CIESM Workshop Monograph n° 46 [F. Briand, ed.], 180 p., CIESM Publisher, Monaco.; 03/2015