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Abstract

The increasing presence of micro- and nano-sized plastics in the environment and food chain is of growing concern. Although mindful consumers are promoting the reduction of single-use plastics, some manufacturers are creating new plastic packaging to replace traditional paper uses, such as plastic teabags. The objective of this study was to determine whether plastic teabags could release microplastics and/or nanoplastics during a typical steeping process. We show that steeping a single plastic teabag at brewing temperature (95 °C) releases approximately 11.6 billion microplastics and 3.1 billion nanoplastics into a single cup of the beverage. The composition of the released particles is matched to the original teabags (nylon and polyethylene terephthalate) using Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The levels of nylon and polyethylene terephthalate particles released from the teabag packaging are several orders of magnitude higher than plastic loads previously reported in other foods. An initial acute invertebrate toxicity assessment shows that exposure to only the particles released from the teabags caused dose-dependent behavioral and developmental effects.

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... Similarly, PS cup lids and expanded PS have mechanically been broken down to an average size of around 140 nm using a food processor 13 . Treating nylon tea bags with hot water resulted in the release of both micro-and nano-sized plastic particles 14 . PS particles with a diameter of 200 nm were degraded to NPs below 100 nm by agitation in water 15 . ...
... When particles with sizes within the nanoplastics size range, i.e., below 1 µm, are identified, the isolation and chemical characterization of the nanoplastics are often lacking, leaving the nature of the breakdown nanoplastics unconfirmed. In a few cases the breakdown nanoplastic is characterized for chemistry, surface chemistry, and/or shape 13,14,17 . In general, the leached and broken down nanoplastics are different from the reference PS nanoplastics. ...
... However, there are few studies reporting on how leached or broken down nanoplastics exhibit biological effects, for example, in cell lines 17 , D. magna 14,20 , and on zebrafish (Danio rerio) 18 , however, there is an acute need for more data in order to draw any conclusions. Nonetheless, there are several methodological challenges and pitfalls studying nanoplastics. ...
Article
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Plastic litter is a growing environmental problem. Recently, microplastics and nanoplastics, produced during breakdown processes in nature, have been in focus. Although there is a growing knowledge concerning microplastic, little is still known about the effect of nanoplastics. We have showed that mechanical breakdown of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), followed by filtration through 0.8 µm filters, produces material toxic to the freshwater zooplankton Daphnia magna and affected the reproduction in life-time tests. However, further size fractionation and purification reveals that the nanoplastics fraction is non-toxic at these concentrations, whereas the fraction with smaller sizes, below ~ 3 nm, is toxic. The HDPE nanoplastics are highly oxidized and with an average diameter of 110 nm. We conclude that mechanical breakdown of HDPE may cause environmental problems, but that the fraction of leached additives and short chain HDPE are more problematic than HDPE nanoplastics.
... Beverages, such as beer, honey, and drinking water were also reported to contain microplastics [24,25,[27][28][29][30][31] with various suspected origins. In particular, for bottled water, many of the identified pMP were found to be chemically identical to the food packaging material [28,29,[31][32][33][34]. Emerging studies additionally reported the release of plastic particulates from a variety of food contact materials and especially food packaging [35][36][37][38][39][40][41][42]. ...
... From various publications reporting the release of pMP and pNP from food packaging, it appears that there is still an absence of any common or systematic analytical strategies, and authors have explored different approaches for particle detection and characterization. In some cases, chemically specific methods, such as Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) microscopy and pyrolysis gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, have been used, while others report non-specific methods, such as scanning electron microscopy (SEM), nanoparticle tracking analysis, fluorescent microscopy, or quartz crystal microbalance [35][36][37][38][39][40][41][42]. Recently, a call for more knowledge and experimental data generated under realistic scenarios was conducted, with a particular focus on the assessment of the amount of pMP and pNP [14], and the additional request to improve study comparisons by developing and validating certified reference materials that can mimic pMP and pNP in the environment [14,47]. ...
... The identification and quantification of the micro-and nanoplastics released from food contact materials and food packaging is still considered a challenge despite the increasing number of literature reports on the topic [36][37][38][39][40][41][42]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Micro- and nanoplastic (pMP and pNP, respectively) release is an emerging issue since these particles constitute a ubiquitous and growing pollutant, which not only threatens the environment but may have potential consequences for human health. In particular, there is concern about the release of secondary pMP and pNP from the degradation of plastic consumer products. The phenomenon is well-documented in relation to plastic waste in the environment but, more recently, reports of pMP generated even during the normal use of plastic food contact materials, such as water bottles, tea bags, and containers, have been published. So far, a validated and harmonized strategy to tackle the issue is not available. In this study, we demonstrate that plastic breakdown to pMP and pNP can occur during the normal use of polyethylene (PE) rice cooking bags and ice-cube bags as well as of nylon teabags. A multi-instrumental approach based on Raman microscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and particular attention on the importance of sample preparation were applied to evaluate the chemical nature of the released material and their morphology. In addition, a simple method based on Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy is proposed for pNP mass quantification, resulting in the release of 1.13 ± 0.07 mg of nylon 6 from each teabag. However, temperature was shown to have a strong impact on the morphology and aggregation status of the released materials, posing to scientists and legislators a challenging question: are they micro- or nanoplastics or something else altogether?
... Food containers, directly in contact with food, nowadays are also considered as an unintentional source for MPs entering the human beings (Du et al., 2020;Hernandez et al., 2019;D. Li et al., 2020). ...
... sterilization, periodic fluctuations and water temperature. The high temperature could also enhance the MPs release from the plastic cups (Ranjan et al., 2021) and teabags (Hernandez et al., 2019). In 15 min, the hot water (85-90 • C, 100 mL) could result in 2.5 × 10 4 items of MPs and (102.3 ± 21.1)× 10 6 items of sub-MPs released from paper cups (Ranjan et al., 2021), while higher temperature (≥ 90 • C) could release ~1.16 × 10 10 items of MPs and 3.1 × 10 9 items of NPs from one tea bag into the cup (Hernandez et al., 2019). ...
... The high temperature could also enhance the MPs release from the plastic cups (Ranjan et al., 2021) and teabags (Hernandez et al., 2019). In 15 min, the hot water (85-90 • C, 100 mL) could result in 2.5 × 10 4 items of MPs and (102.3 ± 21.1)× 10 6 items of sub-MPs released from paper cups (Ranjan et al., 2021), while higher temperature (≥ 90 • C) could release ~1.16 × 10 10 items of MPs and 3.1 × 10 9 items of NPs from one tea bag into the cup (Hernandez et al., 2019). Due to the unclear rate of recurrence, the annual intake via these ways is still limited. ...
Article
Full-text available
Microplastics (MPs; <5 mm) in the biosphere draws public concern about their potential health impacts. Humans are potentially exposed to MPs via ingestion, inhalation, and dermal contact. Ingestion and inhalation are the two major exposure pathways. An adult may consume approximately 5.1×10³ items from table salts and up to 4.1×10⁴ items via drinking water annually. Meanwhile, MP inhalation intake ranges from 0.9×10⁴ to 7.9×10⁴ items per year. The intake of MPs would be further distributed in different tissues and organs of humans depending on their sizes. The excretion has been discussed with the possible clearance ways (e.g., urine and feces). The review summarized the absorption, distribution, metabolic toxicity and excretion of MPs together with the attached chemicals. Moreover, the potential implications on humans are also discussed from in vitro and in vivo studies, and connecting the relationship between the physicochemical properties and the potential risks. This review will contribute to a better understanding of MPs as culprits and/or vectors linking to potential human health hazards, which will help outline the promising areas for further revealing the possible toxicity pathways.
... A potential source of human exposure to MPs is teabags since several brands use plastic polymers to keep their tea bags from falling apart. In the study by Hernandez et al. (2019), it was demonstrated, for instance, that a single one of these teabags (obtained at grocery stores and coffee shops in Montreal, Canada) releases approximately 11.6 bn MPs and 3.1 bn nanoplastics (NPs) made up of nylon and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) into a single cup of tea. Therefore, this study was the first to shed light on the risks of exposure to MPs posed by drinking tea. ...
... On the other hand, the similarity between the color variation ( Fig. 3), size (Fig. 4), and chemical composition of the MPs (Fig. 5) identified in the uncut and cut teabags show that the plastic particles were not simply formed because of cutting the teabag, nor from the additional processing required to remove the tea from the teabags. However, an important difference observed between our findings and the reports by Hernandez et al. (2019) refers to the chemical composition of the MPs identified in the analyzed teabag in both studies. The FT-IR analysis performed in our study revealed a high diversity of polymeric types in the teabag samples (uncut and cut). ...
... As shown in Fig. 5, nine polymer types were identified in the tea bags: EVA, CA, PTFE, HDPE, PC, nylon, ABS, PVC, and PETE. On the other hand, in the analyzed samples by Hernandez et al. (2019) only two polymeric types were identified (nylon and PETE). Although these authors have not investigated or discussed the possible origin of these polymers in teabags; in our study, this expressive polymeric variation suggests that multiple sources are contributing to the microplastic contamination of the analyzed samples in Bangladesh. ...
... A potential source of human exposure to MPs is teabags since several brands use plastic polymers to keep their tea bags from falling apart. In the study by Hernandez et al. (2019), it was demonstrated, for instance, that a single one of these teabags (obtained at grocery stores and coffee shops in Montreal, Canada) releases approximately 11.6 bn MPs and 3.1 bn nanoplastics (NPs) made up of nylon and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) into a single cup of tea. Therefore, this study was the first to shed light on the risks of exposure to MPs posed by drinking tea. ...
... On the other hand, the similarity between the color variation (Fig. 3), size (Fig. 4), and chemical composition of the MPs (Fig. 5) identified in the uncut and cut teabags show that the plastic particles were not simply formed because of cutting the teabag, nor from the additional processing required to remove the tea from the teabags. However, an important difference observed between our findings and the reports by Hernandez et al. (2019) refers to the chemical composition of the MPs identified in the analyzed teabag in both studies. The FT-IR analysis performed in our study revealed a high diversity of polymeric types in the teabag samples (uncut and cut). ...
... As shown in Fig. 5, nine polymer types were identified in the tea bags: EVA, CA, PTFE, HDPE, PC, nylon, ABS, PVC, and PETE. On the other hand, in the analyzed samples by Hernandez et al. (2019) only two polymeric types were identified (nylon and PETE). Although these authors have not investigated or discussed the possible origin of these polymers in teabags; in our study, this expressive polymeric variation suggests that multiple sources are contributing to the microplastic contamination of the analyzed samples in Bangladesh. ...
Article
Microplastic pollution is a global concern, mainly due to its adverse effects on organisms and ecosystems. However, our knowledge of its impact on humans, in particular, is still very limited. Thus, while we have not gathered definitive information on their consequences, studies that aim to identify the MP's sources constitute subsidies to better understand the various exposure pathways to these pollutants. Thus, we investigated the possible presence of MP-like particles in teabag samples (of different brands) obtained in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Surprisingly, all analyzed samples (five brands) were contaminated with MPs. Fragments and fibers were identified in a higher percentage, and a wide variety of colors was identified, with a predominance of brown, blue, and red colors. Scanning electron microscope images of teabags exhibited net-like structures of fiber particles with a smooth surface. Furthermore, we observed irregularly shaped MPs and rougher surfaces and fragments in the process of detachment from the main fiber, oxidation flakes, and fracture-like. The average size of these pollutants was between 200.6 and 220.7 μm, and the polymer types identified via Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) were polytetrafluoroethylene, high-density polyethylene, polycarbonate, nylon, polyvinyl chloride, polytetrafluoroethylene, ethylene-vinyl acetate, cellulose acetate, and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, the last three being the most frequent in the analyzed samples. Finally, we noticed that MPs from tea bags in Dhaka could cause an average emission of 10.9 million grams of MPs/year. Although the teabags analyzed in our study are not “complemented with the appealing flavor of MPs", it is very likely that tea ingestion in Dhaka is accompanied by the concomitant ingestion of plastic particles making teabags an important route of human exposure to these micropollutants.
... Laundry wastewater is a major source of plastics. Plastic fibers are among the most frequently detected microplastic or nanoplastic particles from environmental samples, which mainly originate from household washing [30][31][32]. Acrylic, nylon, and polyester microfibers are released from synthetic textiles to the laundry wastewater, with an average of 7360 fibers/m −2 /L −1 [32]. Moreover, microfibers appear in the first wash wastewater of polyester and cotton textiles with a size ranging between 2.1 × 10 5 and 1.3 × 10 7 [33]. ...
... Extensive usage of plastic components in drinking water networks and the potential leach of microplastics or nanoplastics from water pipes under long-term fluid force leads to high exposure of high amounts of plastics to the consumers of drinking water [38][39][40]. A previous study reported that humans consume hundreds of millions of nanoplastic particles from a single cup of beverage originating from teabag packaging [31]. The detection of nanoplastics in seafoods as well as table salts shows that humans are exposed to high levels of plastics [41]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Nanoplastics are associated with several risks to the ecology and toxicity to humans. Nanoplastics are synthetic polymers with dimensions ranging from 1 nm to 1 μm. They are directly released to the environment or secondarily derived from plastic disintegration in the environment. Nanoplastics are widely detected in environmental samples and the food chain; therefore, their potentially toxic effects have been widely explored. In the present review, an overview of another two potential sources of nanoplastics, exposure routes to illustrate hazard identification of nanoplastics, cell internalization, and effects on intracellular target organelles are presented. In addition, challenges on the study of nanoplastics and future research areas are summarized. This paper also summarizes some approaches to eliminate or minimize the levels of nanoplastics to ensure environmental safety and improve human health.
... 15 In heated water, leachates from nylon and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) tea bags release particles smaller than 300 μm with N w > 10 10 L −1 . 11 This study focuses on two of the most ubiquitous plastic materials in contact with foods ingested by humans: foodgrade nylon films and single-use hot beverage cups. Food-grade nylon film is used for food packaging, as liners for baking pans in restaurants and commercial kitchens and as liners in slow cookers in household kitchens. ...
... 13,18 After isolation, material chemistry can be identified using spectroscopic probes and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) or atomic force microscopy (AFM). 11,12,19 The availability of techniques to isolate, measure, and identify sub-100 nm particles in water is much more limited and has been identified as a significant obstacle in the study of nanoplastics in water. 17,18,20−22 This study uses a mature method for the detection of nanomaterials in solution, and for the first time, to focus on the detection of material added to water exposed to plastic samples. ...
Article
This study demonstrates that commonly used consumer products such as single-use food grade nylon bags and hot beverage cups lined with low-density polyethylene release nanometer-sized plastic particles at number densities >1012 L–1 when exposed to water. The number of particles released was a function of the initial water temperature (high temperature vs ambient) for each of the tested materials. Mean particle diameters were between 30 and 80 nm with few particles >200 nm. The number of particles released into hot water from food grade nylon was 7 times higher when compared to single-use beverage cups. On a particle number density basis, particles released into water from a single 300 mL hot beverage cup equate to one particle for every seven cells in the human body in a size range available for cellular uptake.
... Based upon their sources, MPs can be categorized into "Primary microplastics", manufactured for indirect or direct use as raw materials for consumer polymer goods, and "Secondary microplastics" produced from the breakdown, cracking, and progressive deterioration of larger plastic fragments (Anderson et al., 2016;Andrady, 2011;Cole et al., 2011;Ryan et al., 2009;Thompson, 2015;Thompson et al., 2004). Primary MPs are commonly used in facial cleansers, cosmetics, scrubs, microbeads, toothpaste, exfoliants, and abrasives, as well as by industries (e.g., air blasting) (Anderson et al., 2016;Browne et al., 2011;Cole et al., 2011;Prata et al., 2020a), or for washing synthetic clothes and rubbers (Laskar and Kumar, 2019), tea bags (Hernandez et al., 2019). They are also utilized in medicine as drugproduction vectors (Patel et al., 2009). ...
... One survey had reported MPs and NPs from a majority (88 %) of tap water in both developed and developing countries (Kosuth et al., 2018). Furthermore, MPs and NPs were reported in teabags from grocery stores and coffee and tea from cafes in Montreal, Canada (Hernandez et al., 2019), and food stores in Germany (Schymanski et al., 2018). A Mexican study reported MPs in milk with concentrations of 1-14 particles/L and sizes ranging from 0.1 to 5 mm (Kutralam-Muniasamy et al., 2020). ...
Article
Microplastics (MPs) and nanoplastics (NPs) are emerging environmental pollutants, having a major ecotoxico-logical concern to humans and many other biotas, especially aquatic animals. The physical and chemical compositions of MPs majorly determine their ecotoxicological risks. However, comprehensive knowledge about the exposure routes and toxic effects of MPs/NPs on animals and human health is not fully known. Here this review focuses on the potential exposure routes, human health impacts, and toxicity response of MPs/NPs on human health, through reviewing the literature on studies conducted in different in vitro and in vivo experiments on organisms, human cells, and the human experimental exposure models. The current literature review has highlighted ingestion, inhalation, and dermal contacts as major exposure routes of MPs/NPs. Further, oxidative stress, cytotoxicity, DNA damage, inflammation, immune response, neurotoxicity, metabolic disruption, and ultimately affecting digestive systems, immunology, respiratory systems, reproductive systems, and nervous systems, as serious health consequences.
... Inhalation and ingestion are the main uptake routes in the different organisms, including humans [18,19]. The concern of MPs and NPs oral ingestion is evident due to their presence in foodstuffs such as table salt [20,21], beverages [22,23], and meat for human consumption [24,25,26]. Furthermore, it is well known that MPs are absorbed, biodistributed [27], and bioaccumulated in different organisms such as mussels [28], zebrafish [29], and others [19]. ...
Preprint
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is among the major plastics produced, and thus the PET nanoparticles are distributed worldwide in marine systems. In this work, the effects of PET nanoparticles (NanoPET) in the shrimp feed were determined in juveniles of shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei. No significant changes in the concentrations of triglycerides and cholesterol in hemolymph were detected. A slight but not significantly higher nitrites content in the shrimp hepatopancreas was detected when the NanoPET concentration in the feed was increased, while a significant higher ROS generation was detected at high NanoPET concentration. This increase in ROS generation matched with the increase of gene expression of antioxidative proteins catalase, superoxide dismutase, and glutathione peroxidase, while glutathione transferase was not affected. Thus, these increased levels of antioxidant enzymes in shrimps exposed to NanoPET seem to be a protection response by the generation of free radicals induced by the presence of nanoplastic.
... Primary pollution is related to microplastic particles intentionally included in commercial products such as cosmetics (e.g., microbeads in scrub products), drug delivery applications (e.g., nanoplastics), detergents, and vectors of pharmaceutical ingredients (Al-Thawadi, 2020). Secondary pollution refers to those microplastics originating from the degradation of larger plastic debris by chemical, physical, or biological processes (Andrady, 2017;Hernandez et al., 2019;Lambert and Wagner, 2016). ...
Article
Full-text available
Several studies have documented that plastic pollution is affecting one of the most remote and pristine regions of our planet, Antarctica. Plastics of different size and polymeric composition have been retrieved in Antarctic sea ice, surface waters and sediments, with microplastics (mostly fibers) found both in terrestrial and marine organisms. Such evidence raises concerns about potential detrimental effects on biodiversity and ecosystem functions. The present review aims to report the most up-to-date knowledge on occurrence and distribution of plastic pollution in the Antarctic environment and biota including interaction with microorganisms, potential sources, and its impact on Antarctic biota. Our understanding of plastic pollution in this polar region will help us define the human footprint in Antarctica and predict future ecological risks.
... Various microscopy and spectroscopy techniques are used to analyze MNPs (Shim et al., 2016;Li et al., 2020;Veerasingam et al., 2020), although researchers commonly use one or two of these techniques, currently there is no published study that integrates them into a single procedure. Here, we propose the combination of six techniques: first identification of the polymer type and detection of associated contaminants by using Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy (CLSM) a robust tool up to200 nm resolution that can detect the presence of MNPs in organisms (100 nm) (Jiang et al., 2019;Li et al., 2019;Li et al., 2020), followed by Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) and μ-RAMAN to confirm the polymer type and some organic compounds with high accuracy (<20 μm) (Hernandez et al., 2019;Li et al., 2020), then analysis of the topographical structure of the MNPs using Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) through nanoindentation analysis with a resolution of 50-100 nm , and finally, the analysis of heavy metals and other associated contaminants with X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), which can measure sampling areas up to 60 × 60 mm (Fu et al., 2020) and Environmental Electron Scanning Microscopy (ESEM), that provides high resolution nanoscale (>0.8 nm) images and is usually coupled to X-ray Dispersion Spectrometer (EDS). ...
Article
The present study establishes a new procedure to characterize micro(nano)plastics (MNPs) and identify contaminants adhered to the plastic particles in aquatic environments by applying ultra-high resolution microscopy and spectroscopy techniques. Naturally fragmented microplastics (MPs) were collected from Manzanillo and Santiago Bays, Mexico and analyzed using: Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy (CLSM), Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), μ-RAMAN, Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) and Environmental Electron Scanning Microscopy (ESEM). The information obtained from each of these techniques was integrated to produce a comprehensive profile of each particle. Sample preparation was tested by applying three different rinses (unrinsed, distilled water and alcohol) to untreated MPs collected from Manzanillo Bay, finding that when large impurities are present an alcohol rinse makes it easier to examine the associated contaminants. Based on this emerging methodology, polyethylene and polypropylene MPs were identified with associated contaminants such as arsenic, cadmium, aluminum, and benzene. This study demonstrates the presence of pollutants that may be linked to MNPs in aquatic ecosystems and proposes an accurate relatively fast procedure for their analysis that does not require chemical extraction.
... Still, more investigations are needed to support this finding. Men consumed more MPs than women; for example, Hernandez et al. (2019) reported that men consume 7 billion plastic particles, whereas women consume 9 billion particles through tea bags per day. In addition, Diaz-Basantes et al. (2020) estimated that men consume 191 plastic particles, but women consume less (nearly 140 MPs particles) from refreshing beverages per day. ...
Article
Microplastics (MPs) and nanoplastics (NPs) are key indicators of the plasticine era, widely spread across different ecosystems. MPs and NPs become global stressors due to their inherent physicochemical characteristics and potential impact on ecosystems and humans. MPs and NPs have been exposed to humans via various pathways, such as tap water, bottled water, seafood, beverages, milk, fish, salts, fruits, and vegetables. This paper highlights MPs and NPs pathways to the food chains and how these plastic particles can cause risks to human health. MPs have been evident in vivo and vitro and have been at health risks, such as respiratory, immune, reproductive, and digestive systems. The present work emphasizes how various MPs and NPs, and associated toxic chemicals, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), impact human health. Polystyrene (PS) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) are common MPs and NPs, reported in human implants via ingestion, inhalation, and dermal exposure, which can cause carcinogenesis, according to Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) reports. Inhalation, ingestion, and dermal exposure-response cause genotoxicity, cell division and viability, cytotoxicity, oxidative stress induction, metabolism disruption, DNA damage, inflammation, and immunological responses in humans. Lastly, this review work concluded with current knowledge on potential risks to human health and knowledge gaps with recommendations for further investigation in this field.
... To date, many investigations have shown that microplastics can be released from food containers into food and pose a potential health threat due to the decomposition of polymers. According to reports, billions of microparticles and nanoparticles can be released into tea from plastic tea bags [8]. Fadare et al. reported that humans are exposed to 188 tons of microplastics each year [9]. ...
Article
Full-text available
With the rapid development and popularization of the internet and smartphone industry for ordering and delivery, the consumption of takeaway food is increasing globally, especially in China. However, there is little information about microplastics in takeaway food containers, so their potential risks to human health remain unknown. This study explored the possibility of using focal plane array (FPA)-based micro-FT-IR imaging to detect microplastics released from food containers and evaluated their contents using an automated database matching analysis method. We investigated microplastics in seven types of food containers widely used in China. The most common plastic types observed were polyamide (PA), polyurethane (PU) and polystyrene (PS), which were found to comprise 22.8%, 18.2%, and 8.5% (number of particles) of all microplastics, respectively. Microplastics were found in all seven types of food containers, and the content excluding cellulose was 29–552 items/container. Our research shows that microplastics in takeaway food containers might originate from atmospheric sediment or flakes from the inside surface of the container. According to the content of microplastics in takeaway food containers, people who order takeaway food 5–10 times a month might consume 145–5520 microplastic pieces from food containers.
... IR spectroscopy (FTIR) revealed Nylon and PETP among the microplastic components. One cup of such tea delivers into the organism up to 16 μg of microplastic particles, which exceeds their content in other foodstuffs by several orders of magnitude (Hernandez et al., 2019). Detailed analysis of MP content in foodstuffs was provided in the review by Kwon et al. (2020). ...
... In addition to animals in the environment, recent studies have documented microplastic fbres in both the human intestinal tract and placental tissue, though major data gaps remain regarding exposure efects on humans (Ibrahim et al. 2021;Ragusa et al. 2020). We ingest microplastics through food items and drinking water (Hernandez et al. 2019;Kosuth et al. 2018;Rochman et al. 2015;Liebezeit & Liebezeit 2015) and inhale microplastics both indoors and outdoors (Dris et al. 2017). Occupational exposure to microplastics in industries like textile production or plastic manufacturing (Zarus et al. 2021;Pimentel et al. 1975;Stratton-Powell et al. 2019;Urban et al. 2000;Hicks et al. 1996) is documented to cause infammation of the lungs in occupational workers; surgical exposure can decrease the immune response in patients with plastic implants and the translocation of microplastics from implants to the lymph nodes has been observed (Zarus et al. 2021). ...
... Current research demonstrates that microplastics are present in tap water, bottled water, canned drinks, sparkling water, beer, seafood, conserved products, packaged food (chicken etc.), honey, sugar, tabel salt, teabags and rice (Dessì et al., 2021, Hernandez et al., 2019Karami et al., 2018;Kedzierski et al., 2020;Kosuth et al., 2018;Mühlschlegel et al., 2017;Peixoto et al., 2019;Schymanski et al., 2018;Senathirajah et al., 2021;Shruti et al., 2020;Zhou et al., 2021). ...
Article
Full-text available
The objective of this study is to develop a scale to measure science and biology teacher candidates' awareness of micro-plastic pollution. The sample group consists of 586 participants from 4 universities who are currently enrolled in science and biology teaching programmes. "Microplastic Pollution Awareness Scale (MPAS)" used as data collection tool developed by the researcher. EFA was applied to the data obtained from the application, it was determined that the scale had a 3-factor structure, and that the factors made up 49.57% of the total variance in general. DFA was applied to verify the obtained factor structure. According to the DFA results; χ2/df is perfect harmony; RMSEA, SRMR, CFI, GFI and NNFI are good/perfect harmony; AGFI and NFI are acceptable harmony. The overall reliability coefficient of the scale was determined as 81, the value of which is considered to be of high level reliability. MKFÖ, which is a likert scale, consists of a total of 14 items, including 5 negative and 9 positive items. The maximum score that can be obtained from the scale is determined as 28, and the score obtained from the scale is in direct proportion with the level of awareness of the individual about microplastic pollution.
... The potential threats of MPs to human health have attracted intense attention because of the widespread detection of MPs in human-related foods, such as seafood (Danopoulos et al., 2020), table salt (Yang et al., 2015), honey (Liebezeit and Liebezeit, 2013), milk (Kutralam-Muniasamy et al., 2020), beer (Kosuth et al., 2018), tea (Hernandez et al., 2019), and even drinking water (Koelmans et al., 2019). Evidence of MPs in human stool samples further confirms the invasion of MPs into the human body through diet (Schwabl et al., 2019). ...
Article
Human-health risks from microplastics have attracted considerable attention, but little is known about human-exposure pathways and intensities. Recent studies posited that inhalation of atmospheric microplastics was the dominant human-exposure pathway. Herein, our study identified that atmospheric microplastics ingested from deposition during routine dining/drinking activities represent another important exposure pathway. We measured abundances of atmospheric-deposited microplastics of up to 10⁵ items m⁻² d⁻¹ in dining/drinking venues, with 90% smaller than 100 µm and a dominance of amorphous fragments rather than fibers. Typical work-life scenarios projected an annual ingestion of 1.9×10⁵ to 1.3×10⁶ microplastics through atmospheric deposition on diet, with higher exposure rates for indoor versus outdoor dining/drinking settings. Ingestion of atmospheric-deposited microplastics through diet was similar in magnitude to presumed inhalation exposure, but 2-3 orders of magnitude greater than direct ingestion from food sources. Simple mitigation strategies (e.g., covering and rinsing dishware) can substantially reduce the exposure of atmospheric deposition microplastics through diet.
... Found in the rain, air, earth, snow, salt, tap and bottled water, fish, birds, beer, tea, honey, carrots, lettuces, broccoli, potato, apples, and pears (Hernandez et al., 2019;Oliveri Conti et al., 2020;Pastorino et al., 2021;Ranjan et al., 2021;Shruti et al., 2021;Zhang et al., 2020;Zuccarello et al., 2019), plastic particles considerably accumulate in subsequent links of the food chain and penetrate living organisms (Chae et al., 2018;Kik et al., 2020), including human (Jiang et al., 2020;Schwabl et al., 2019;Zhang et al., 2021). Polystyrene is one of the most versatile plastic-type proving that PS is also one of the main components of plastic pollution (Hwang et al., 2020;Kik et al., 2020). ...
Article
Commercially manufactured or generated through environmental degradation, microplastics (MPs) and nanoplastics (NPs) considerably contribute to environmental pollution. There is a knowledge gap in how exposure to MPs/NPs changes cellular function and affects animal and human health. Here, we demonstrate that after oral uptake, fluorescent polystyrene (PS) nanoparticles pass through the mouse digestive system, accumulate and aggregate in different organs, and induce functional changes in cells and organs. Using cochlear explant as a novel in vitro system, we confirmed the consequences of PS-MP/NP interaction with inner ear cells by detecting aggregates and hetero-aggregates of PS particles in hair cells. The testes of treated males accumulated MPs/NPs in the interstitial compartment surrounding the seminiferous tubules, which was associated with a statistically significant decrease in testosterone levels. Male mice showed increased secretion of interleukins (IL-12p35 and IL-23) by splenocytes while cyto- and genotoxicity tests indicated impaired cell viability and increased DNA damage in spleen tissue. Males also showed a broad range of anxiogenic responses to PS nanoparticles while hippocampal samples from treated females showed an increased expression of Bax and Nlrp3 genes, indicating a pro-apoptotic/proinflammatory effect of PS treatment. Taken together, induced PS effects are also gender-dependent, and therefore, strongly motivate future research to mitigate the deleterious effects of nanosized plastic particles.
... The source and path can move. However, through other routes, it is also possible to eat salt, breathe air, food, and drink water contaminated by microplastics [30, 131,132]. Microplastics may pose unclear human health risks [130]. ...
Article
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Contaminants from microplastics in the soil can pose a huge and potential risk to global ecological systems. Microplastic contaminants have become an issue since the source and potential risks have gained a point of great concern. This problem is due to the lack of a comprehensive and systematic analysis system for microplastics. Thus, a comprehensive review of microplastic knowledge is carried out to detect its potential risks, occurrences, sources, and characteristics. The study results show that microplastics have been found everywhere, as shown in the global matrix. However, with the advancement of increasingly sophisticated technology, the microplastics found in the soil can be reduced. The difficulties of analytical systems inherent in particles in even complex matrices can be overcome with technology. Research on the distribution and emergence of microplastics is still very slow in several countries, including Indonesia, the United States, and Africa. The composition and characteristics of microplastics in soil and the environment shows their consistency still indicates a change in source. Microplastics in the soil have extensive and diverse sources, leading to high accumulation. This study also discusses the potential risks and effects of microplastics on soil ecosystems. The interaction and combination of contaminants from adsorbed microplastics can lead to soil fertility and migration systems in the food chain. The impact of microplastics on soil depends on chemical components, natural factors, and morphology. Thus, regional quantification and estimation of emissions from microplastics have a huge gap. In addition, the concentration of microplastics and the masking of microplastics to store carbon in the soil can be influenced by natural factors and require various efforts.
... However, conventional Spontaneous Raman microspectroscopy suffers from limitations due to long integration times and to its susceptibility to autofluorescence, and only a few studies have used this technique to classify fibers (Ghosal et al., 2018;Zobkov et al., 2019). As a consequence of these limitations, only a fraction of studies reporting on environmental fibers presents a verification of their synthetic nature (Cincinelli et al., 2017;Hernandez et al., 2019;Le Guen et al., 2020;Miller et al., 2017;Song et al., 2015;Yang et al., 2015). This may lead to an overestimation of the abundance of synthetic fibers present in the environment, because a fraction of fibers found in the environmental samples may be instead of natural origin. ...
... Nanoplastics are distributed in the living environment [9][10][11]. Daily supplies, such as tea bags and 3D printers, are also sources of nanoplastics [12][13][14]. In the North Atlantic, microplastics are also digested into nanoplastics by marine organisms [15,16]. ...
Article
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Background Nanoplastics have been recently found widely distributed in our natural environment where ubiquitously bacteria are major participants in various material cycles. Understanding how nanoplastics interact with bacterial cell membrane is critical to grasp their uptake processes as well as to analyze their associated risks in ecosystems and human microflora. However, little is known about the detailed interaction of differentially charged nanoplastics with bacteria. The present work experimentally and theoretically demonstrated that nanoplastics enter into bacteria depending on the surface charges and cell envelope structural features, and proved the shielding role of membrane lipids against nanoplastics. Results Positively charged polystyrene nanoplastics (PS-NH 2 , 80 nm) can efficiently translocate across cell membranes, while negatively charged PS (PS-COOH) and neutral PS show almost no or much less efficacy in translocation. Molecular dynamics simulations revealed that the PS-NH 2 displayed more favourable electrostatic interactions with bacterial membranes and was subjected to internalisation through membrane penetration. The positively charged nanoplastics destroy cell envelope of Gram-positive B. subtilis by forming membrane pore, while enter into the Gram-negative E. coli with a relatively intact envelope. The accumulated positively charged nanoplastics conveyed more cell stress by inducing a higher level of reactive oxygen species (ROS). However, the subsequently released membrane lipid-coated nanoplastics were nearly nontoxic to cells, and like wise, stealthy bacteria wrapped up with artifical lipid layers became less sensitive to the positively charged nanoplastics, thereby illustrating that the membrane lipid can shield the strong interaction between the positively charged nanoplastics and cells. Conclusions Our findings elucidated the molecular mechanism of nanoplastics’ interaction and accumulation within bacteria, and implied the shielding and internalization effect of membrane lipid on toxic nanoplastics could promote bacteria for potential plastic bioremediation. Graphical Abstract
... The impact of the ban on the amount of incoming MPs to disposal sites remains unclear. Recent studies found that many disposable plastic products, including plastic bags (Napper & Thompson, 2019), teabags (Hernandez et al., 2019), food containers (Fadare et al., 2020), and water bottles (Cox et al., 2019), generate MPs during daily usages, thus bringing the MPs with them to disposal sites once discarded. These products typically have very short lifetimes between usage and disposal (Geyer et al., 2017), resulting in continual inputs of PW and MPs to disposal sites. ...
... While estimates of exposure based on the mass of MNPs potentially vary several orders of magnitude, less is understood regarding the number of MNPs that such an exposure represents. The number of particles at lower particle sizes, for instance, may potentially be several orders of magnitude [11][12][13], although the mass of nanoplastic particles may be relatively small. On the other hand, exposure to larger numbers of microplastics > 150 μm, for instance, may be relatively low [3], but the mass for these particles will be larger and potentially dominate the total mass-based estimates of exposure. ...
Article
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The continuously increasing use of plastics is supposed to result in a rising exposure of MNPs to humans. Available data on human health risks of microplastics after oral uptake increased immensely in the past years and indicates very likely only low risks after oral consumption. Concerning nanoplastics, uptake, transport and potential adverse effects after oral uptake are less well understood. This study aims to investigate differences between microplastic particles and particles in the submicron- and nanoscaled size derived from food-relevant polymers with a particle size range consistent with higher potential for cellular uptake, fate, and effects when applied to human intestinal and liver cells. This work includes the development of cellular and subcellular detection methods for synthetic polymeric particles in the micro- and nanometer-range, using Scanning Electron Microscopy, Small-Angle X-ray and Dynamic Light Scattering methods, Asymmetric Flow Field Flow Fractionation, octanol-water fractionation, fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry. Polylactic acid (250 nm and 2 μm (polydisperse)), melamine formaldehyde (366 nm) and polymethylmethacrylate (25 nm) were thoroughly characterized. The submicro- and nanoplastic test particles showed an increased uptake and transport quantity through intestinal cells. Both types of particles resulted in observed differences of uptake behavior, most likely influenced by different lipophilicity, which varied between the polymeric test materials. Toxic effects were detected after 24 h only in overload situations for the particles in the submicrometer range. This study provides further evidence for gastrointestinal uptake of submicro- and nanoplastics and points towards differences regarding bioavailability between microplastics and smaller plastic particles that may result following the ingestion of contaminated food and beverages. Furthermore, the results reinforce the importance for studying nanoplastics of different materials of varying size, surface properties, polymer composition and hydrophobicity.
... Such systemic infiltration of microplastics into the human body highlights the urgent need to identify and analyze the sources of plastic-derived contaminants. As studies on microplastic ingestion have focused on sources such as seafood (Ivar do Sul and Costa, 2014;Gangadoo et al., 2020), tap water (Kosuth et al., 2018), beverages (Shruti et al., 2021), teabags (Hernandez et al., 2019), PP water bottles , and PP infant feeding bottles , whether plastic food packaging, which is ubiquitous and usually subjected to high temperature, contributes to microplastics contamination remains unclear. Previous studies focused on release of microplastics from heat-treated take-out food containers had yielded no significant leaching of particles. ...
Article
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The ingestion and accumulation of microplastics is a serious threat to the health and survival of humans and other organisms given the increasing use of daily-use plastic products, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, whether direct microplastic contamination from plastic packaging is a threat to human health remains unclear. We analyzed the market demand for plastic packaging in Asia-Pacific, North America, and Europe and identified the commonly used plastic food packaging products. We found that food containers exposed to high-temperature water release more than 10 million microplastics per mL of water. Recycled plastic food packaging was demonstrated to continuously leach micro- and nanoplastics. In vitro cell engulfing experiments revealed that these leachates are readily taken up by murine macrophages without any conditioning and that short-term exposure substantially suppressed the lysosomal activities of macrophages. We demonstrated that the ingestion of micro- and nanoplastics released from food containers exerts immediate negative effects on macrophage activities, proving that the explosive growth in the use of plastic packaging poses severe health risks.
... As the plastic comes in contact with nature, the communication between the natural elements and the plastic waste material can cut down the larger plastic pieces into smaller plastic trash (Waring et al., 2018). Additionally, smaller plastic elements are generally produced and added to customer kinds of stuff like personal care products which are thrown away after use, and this is another significant reason for plastic pollution in the environment (Hernandez et al., 2019) (Sharma et al., 2017). Depending on the diameter of the plastic particles, they can be classified into nano-plastics (NPS) and micro-plastics (MPs), with the diameter of NPs being 1 to 100 or 1000 nm and micro-plastics (MPs) being less than 5mm respectively (Jiang et al., 2020). ...
Chapter
The spreading and abundance of micro and nano plastics into the world are so wide that many researchers used them as main pointers of the modern and contemporary period defining a new historical era. However, the inferences of microplastics are not yet systematically understood. There is the significant difficulty involved to know their impact due to dissimilar physical-chemical characteristics that make micro-plastics complex stressors. Micro-plastics carry toxic chemicals in the ecosystems, therefore serving as vectors of transport, and, on the other hand, a combination of dangerous chemicals that are further voluntarily during their manufacture as additives to increase polymer properties and extend their life. In this chapter, the authors prominently discuss the different kinds of literature on micro and nano-plastic exposure pathways and their probable risk to human health to encapsulate present information with the target of enhanced attention, upcoming study in this area, and information gaps.
... However, as the amount of plastic garbage generated increases, NP contamination in the environment may have an impact on the human community, as a whole. Recent studies have indicated the release of approximately 11.6 billion MPs and 3.1 billion NPs from a single plastic tea bag [42], at least 300 billion NPs/g from face scrubs [43], billions of NPs/mL (average size 160 nm) of water from polystyrene disposable cups [44], and an exposure of 14,600-4,550,000 MPs per capita per day from polypropylene infant feeding bottles [45], which are considered common sources of exposure to humans. The number of particles used for exposure in this study corresponds closely to the natural exposure of NPs in the human system; however, looking at the continuous exposure of NPs in the natural environment, these NPs may cause even more damage to human health than observed in the present study. ...
Article
Environmental exposure to microplastics (MPs) and nanoplastics (NPs) is an increasing concern from human health perspectives. Little information on the genotoxic and cytotoxic potential of NP particles in human cells is available. We aimed to assess the cytotoxic and genotoxic potential of polystyrene nanoplastics (PSNPs) at different concentrations (2000μg/mL, 1000μg/mL, and 500μg/mL) by using chromosomal aberration (CA) and cytokinesis-block micronucleus assays (CBMN) on human peripheral lymphocytes. Dose-dependent hemolytic activity and cell viability were observed against the PSNPs exposure. Increased chromosomal aberrations, such as chromosomal breaks and dicentric chromosomes, and an increase in nucleoplasmic bridge (NBP) formation and nuclear budding (NBUD) were observed. The frequency of mitotic index (MI) decreased significantly in the PSNP-exposed groups from lower to higher concentrations. A significant increase in micronuclei (MN) formation and cytostasis% and a dose-dependent reduction in nuclear division index (NDI) in PSNP-exposed groups indicated oxidative stress-mediated cytotoxicity, DNA damage, and genomic instabilities due to PSNP exposure in human lymphocyte cells. This study highlights the importance of understanding the toxic mechanisms and associated chronic and acute health effects on humans due to exposure to this pervasive environmental pollutant.
... La NTA a été utilisée pour démontrer la formation de nanoplastiques lors de la dégradation du polystyrène, mais permet aussi d'obtenir la distribution en taille des particules (Ekvall et al., 2019 ;Hernandez et al., 2019). Cependant, la DLS et la NTA ont des limites considérables lors de l'analyse de nanoplastiques polydisperses et polymorphiques ter Halle et al., 2017). ...
Thesis
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La pollution de l’environnement par les déchets plastiques est un problème mondial. L’impact des nanoplastiques dans l’océan est grandement influencé par leurs propriétés d’agrégation. Cette agrégation est généralement contrôlée par les propriétés intrinsèques des nanoplastiques ainsi que celles du milieu environnant. Pour étudier ce phénomène et les facteurs qui l’influencent, nous nous sommes d’abord intéressés à la mise en place d’une méthode systématique permettant de caractériser les nanoplastiques (distribution de taille, forme, fonctionnalité, aspect et hydrophobie de surface), puis nous avons élaboré des nanoplastiques modèles issus de deux procédés différents : i) méthode ascendante : polymérisation en émulsion sans tensio-actif ni additif ; ii) méthode descendante : dégradation mécanique de microplastique. Ces deux voies permettent de contrôler les propriétés des nanoplastiques (composition, morphologie, état de la surface). Ces modèles ont été caractérisés grâce aux méthodes développées et optimisées (microscopie électronique, microscopie à force atomique, titrage potentiométrique, diffusion dynamique et statique de la lumière, zêta-métrie). Enfin, nous avons étudié l’homoagrégation de nanoplastiques en milieu marin et déterminé les paramètres influents tant au niveau des propriétés intrinsèques des nanoplastiques que de celles du milieu.
... Studies have detected microplastics (MPs) that are released from plastic products such as cosmetics and water bottles (Karami et al., 2017;Mason et al., 2018;Koelmans et al., 2019). Recently, researches on plastic teabags and infant feeding bottles have found that they can release millions to billions of MPs when they are immersed in or contain hot liquid, which causes thermal aging (Hernandez et al., 2019;Li et al., 2020). ...
Article
Billions of discarded masks have entered the oceans since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Current reports mostly discuss the potential of masks as plastic pollution, but there has been no study on the fate of this emerging plastic waste in the marine environment. Therefore, we exposed masks in natural seawater and evaluated their aging and effects on the microbial community using a combination of physicochemical and biological techniques. After 30-day exposure in natural seawater, the masks suffered from significant aging. Microbial colonizers such as Rhodobacteraceae Flavobacteriaceae, Vibrionaceae and fouling organisms like calcareous tubeworms Hydroides elegans were massively present on the masks. The roughness and modulus of the mask fiber increased 3 and 5 times, respectively, and the molecular weight decreased 7%. The growth of biofouling organisms caused the masks negatively buoyant after 14–30 days. Our study sheds some light on the fate of discarded masks in a coastal area and provides fundamental data to manage this important plastic waste during COVID-19 pandemic.
... However, as the amount of plastic garbage generated increases, NP contamination in the environment may have an impact on the human community, as a whole. Recent studies have indicated the release of approximately 11.6 billion MPs and 3.1 billion NPs from a single plastic tea bag [42], at least 300 billion NPs/g from face scrubs [43], billions of NPs/mL (average size 160 nm) of water from polystyrene disposable cups [44], and an exposure of 14,600-4,550,000 MPs per capita per day from polypropylene infant feeding bottles [45], which are considered common sources of exposure to humans. The number of particles used for exposure in this study corresponds closely to the natural exposure of NPs in the human system; however, looking at the continuous exposure of NPs in the natural environment, these NPs may cause even more damage to human health than observed in the present study. ...
Article
Full-text available
Environmental exposure to microplastics (MPs) and nanoplastics (NPs) is an increasing concern from human health perspectives. Little information on the genotoxic and cytotoxic potential of NP particles in human cells is available. We aimed to assess the cytotoxic and genotoxic potential of polystyrene nanoplastics (PSNPs) at different concentrations (2000μg/mL, 1000μg/mL, and 500μg/mL) by using chromosomal aberration (CA) and cytokinesis-block micronucleus assays (CBMN) on human peripheral lymphocytes. Dose-dependent hemolytic activity and cell viability were observed against the PSNPs exposure. Increased chromosomal aberrations, such as chromosomal breaks and dicentric chromosomes, and an increase in nucleoplasmic bridge (NBP) formation and nuclear budding (NBUD) were observed. The frequency of mitotic index (MI) decreased significantly in the PSNP-exposed groups from lower to higher concentrations. A significant increase in micronuclei (MN) formation and cytostasis% and a dose-dependent reduction in nuclear division index (NDI) in PSNP-exposed groups indicated oxidative stress-mediated cytotoxicity, DNA damage, and genomic instabilities due to PSNP exposure in human lymphocyte cells. This study highlights the importance of understanding the toxic mechanisms and associated chronic and acute health effects on humans due to exposure to this pervasive environmental pollutant
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The increasing use of plastic materials generates an enormous amount of waste. In the aquatic environment, a significant part of this waste is present in the form of microplastics (MPs)- particles with a diameter of between 0.1 μm and 5 mm. The arrival of these small plastics in the food chain has been recently documented. MPs have been reported in fishery products, drinking water and sea salt among other foods. Their intestinal absorption is considered limited due to their size, however, they contain a mixture of chemicals intentionally added during their manufacture, which could cross the intestinal barrier. Currently there are not enough data to allow an accurate assessment of the risk associated with dietary exposure to MPs. The lack of robust methodologies is undoubtedly one of the main problems. There is limited information on occurrence in dietary sources (drinking water and food), human intake, toxicokinetics and long term toxicity of these contaminants. The present review describes the studies published so far and points to the need for improved knowledge in order to have a more accurate view of the problems posed by MPs.
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Microplastics (MPs) are emerging and recalcitrant micropollutants in the environment, which have attracted soaring interests from a wide range of research disciplines. To this end, numerous technologies have been devised to understand the properties, environmental behaviors, and potential impacts/hazards of MPs. Herein, we present a review on the properties, environmental distribution and possible impacts. In this review, a comprehensive introduction of the most universal types of MPs, their shapes and characters will be first presented. Then the distributions of MPs in the environment and the impacts on microbe, plants, and human will be reported. Finally, major challenges and directions will be discussed to provide some clues to the better understanding, control and migration of MPs pollution in future studies.
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Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) microplastics are emerging contaminants affecting biological wastewater treatment processes. So far, the toxicological investigation of PVC microplastics usually focused on the anaerobic and denitrifying bacteria. It seems that the primary lymphocytes isolated from peripheral blood are more sensitive than most other organ cell types in vitro; therefore, the aim of this study was to assess the cytotoxicity of PVC microplastic on human and fish blood lymphocytes as a useful ex vivo model for accelerated human toxicity studies. Using biochemical analyses, we showed human lymphocytes are more sensitive to toxic effects of PVC microplastic than fish lymphocytes. Our result showed that addition of PVC microplastic at 24, 48, and 96 μ g/ml for 3 h to human blood lymphocytes induced cytotoxicity. The PVC microplastic-induced cytotoxicity on human blood lymphocytes was associated with intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation, lysosomal membrane injury, mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) collapse, depletion of glutathione, and lipid peroxidation. According to our results, PVC microplastic particles induce oxidative stress and organelle damage in human lymphocytes, while these significant alterations in toxicity parameters in PVC microplastic-treated fish lymphocytes were not observed. Finally, our findings suggest that human lymphocytes are more sensitive to PVC microplastic toxicity compared with fish lymphocytes.
Chapter
The ever-growing demand and consumption of plastic has created irrevocable havoc on earth. The exponential increase in the production of plastic is expected to create 2,134 million tons of waste by 2050, which surpasses the fish mass in the oceans. With no proper reuse or recycling policies and gruesome exploitation of this persistent pollutant, plastic has started accumulating and overflowing beyond control. The prevalence and the undefined harm from micro and nano plastic pollution calls for a vigilant screening and periodic upgradation of analytical methodology for efficient and standard reporting. This chapter aims to provide a summary of currently available extraction protocols and instrumental methodologies for microplastics analysis in various environmental samples to fully understand the implications it possesses.
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Although nanoplastics (NPs) are recognized as emerging anthropogenic particulate pollutants, the occurrence of NPs in the environment is rarely reported, partly due to the lack of sensitive methods for the concentration and detection of NPs. Herein, we present an efficient method for enriching NPs of different compositions and various sizes. Alkylated ferroferric oxide (Fe3O4) particles were prepared as adsorbents for highly efficient capture of NPs in environmental waters, and the formed large Fe3O4-NP agglomerates were separated by membrane filtration. Detection limits of 0.02-0.03 μg/L were obtained for polystyrene (PS) and poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) NPs by detection with pyrolysis-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (Py-GC/MS). When analyzing real water samples from different sources, it is remarkable that PS NPs were detected in 11 out of 15 samples with concentrations ranging from <0.07 to 0.73 μg/L, while PMMA were not detected. The wide detection of PS NPs in our study confirms the previous speculation that NPs may be ubiquitous in the environmental waters. The accurate quantification of PS NPs in environmental waters make it possible to monitor the pollution status of NPs in aquatic systems and evaluate their potential risks.
Chapter
This chapter presents an update on the status of knowledge surrounding microplastics in fish and seafood species and the consequences to the seafood supply chain. Seafood species can uptake microplastics through a variety of pathways, such as in a wild or aquaculture setting. The most studied routes are via ingestion, either directly from the environment or indirectly via trophic transfer from prey. Microplastics may be introduced along the seafood supply chain up from culture and capture to the preparation of meals by vendors or during preparation by the consumer. Microplastics that are internalized by, or in terms of seaweeds – adhered to, species targeted as seafood could represent one way in which microplastics enter the seafood supply chain. Microplastics could be introduced into seafood products during processing. Packaging could further introduce microplastics to the surface of food products. Seafood products are often packaged in plastics before transport.
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Plastic pollution is a serious problem in the global marine environment because it can produce negative effects at the biological and ecological levels. Due to large surface-area-to-volume ratio and inherent hydrophobicity, nanoplastics can serve as carriers of contaminants, and may affect their fate and toxicity in marine environments. However, the combined effects of nanoplastics and mercury (Hg) in marine organisms have not been well characterized. In this study, after verifying the ingestion of polystyrene nano-size plastics (PS NPs, 50 nm) by the copepod Tigriopus japonicus and adsorption of Hg to PS NPs, we investigated the effects of PS NPs and Hg exposure (alone or in combination) for 48 h on the copepods. Specifically, a 72-h depuration was performed after 48 h exposure. The results showed that after 48 h exposure, the copepod's Hg concentration was significantly increased in the combined exposure group compared to that in the Hg treatment group, but these differences did not persist following 24 h of depuration. Therefore, PS NPs transported Hg into the copepods but did not promote Hg bioaccumulation. Treatment with PS NPs alone did not induce toxicity in T. japonicus, but co-exposure to PS NPs and Hg resulted in elevated transcription of genes related to energy production, antioxidant response, and detoxification/stress defense when compared with Hg treatment alone, demonstrating the synergistic interaction between PS NPs and Hg. Our findings contribute to a comprehensive understanding about the combined toxicity of nanoplastics and metals and the potential ecological risks of associated with these effects in marine environments.
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There is a considerable knowledge gap regarding the long-term fate of plastics in the environment. Acknowledging this gap, in the context of life cycle assessment methods, is critical to account for the long-term fate of plastics in the decision-making process. Ignoring the long-term potential for environmental and health damage from plastic particles makes it difficult to defend a quantitative environmental assessment comparing fossil-based conventional plastics with other alternative materials. This Review highlights that the addition of a plastic particulate footprint as a midpoint impact indicator in life cycle assessments should be considered to quantify these overlooked long-term impacts. There is a growing awareness that plastic pollution poses a major environmental threat. This Review highlights the knowledge gap on their long-term impacts and recommends inclusion in life cycle analysis for better decision-making.
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In recent years, the presence of microplastics (MP) and nanoplastics (NP) has been assessed in several environmental matrices, including the marine environment and agricultural soil, suggesting those pollutants are likely to enter the food web. However, there is still a severe lack of information about the occurrence of plastic particles in our food, partially due to the multidimensionality of the data necessary to fully describe MP contamination and the consequent difficulty in validating analytical methods. In this review, consisting of two parts, preliminary results about the presence of MP in food, water, and beverages are summarized (Part I) and several approaches for the characterization of micro- and nano-sized plastic particles are reported and discussed (Part II). The information gathered in this manuscript highlights the need for a more comprehensive knowledge of MP/NP occurrence along the food chain in order to assess the food safety risk related to those contaminants and implement strategies for their monitoring in products intended for human consumption. Therefore, an outlook of the field towards a coherent, consistent, and policy-relevant data collection and standardization is included in this review.
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This review discusses the most recent literature (mostly since 2019) on the presence and impact of microplastics (MPs, particle size of 1 μm to 5 mm) and nanoplastics (NPs, particle size of 1 to 1000 nm) throughout the agricultural and food supply chain, focusing on the methods and technologies for the detection and characterization of these materials at key entry points. Methods for the detection of M/NPs include electron and atomic force microscopy, vibrational spectroscopy (FTIR and Raman), hyperspectral (bright field and dark field) and fluorescence imaging, and pyrolysis-gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry. Microfluidic biosensors and risk assessment assays of MP/NP for in vitro, in vivo, and in silico models have also been used. Advantages and limitations of each method or approach in specific application scenarios are discussed to highlight the scientific and technological obstacles to be overcome in future research. Although progress in recent years has increased our understanding of the mechanisms and the extent to which MP/NP affects health and the environment, many challenges remain largely due to the lack of standardized and reliable detection and characterization methods. Most of the methods available today are low-throughput, which limits their practical application to food and agricultural samples. Development of rapid and high-throughput field-deployable methods for onsite screening of MP/NPs is therefore a high priority. Based on the current literature, we conclude that detecting the presence and understanding the impact of MP/NP throughout the agricultural and food supply chain require the development of novel deployable analytical methods and sensors, the combination of high-precision lab analysis with rapid onsite screening, and a data hub(s) that hosts and curates data for future analysis.
Article
Résumé Les plastiques jouent un rôle central dans notre vie quotidienne. Cependant, leur utilisation massive a mené à une forte augmentation de la pollution plastique à travers le monde, générant après dégradation d’importantes quantités de microplastiques. Leur omniprésence dans l’environnement, mais également dans les produits alimentaires ou encore les emballages, représente un risque potentiel pour la santé humaine. Dans cette revue, une attention particulière est portée au tractus gastro-intestinal, à la fois porte d’entrée et première barrière aux microplastiques. Les caractéristiques de ces derniers (origine, occurrence, taille, forme, type de polymère, propriétés de surface) ainsi que les premiers résultats sur l’exposition orale humaine sont présentés. Puis, nous mettons en lumière les transformations physico-chimiques des microplastiques au cours de la digestion. Par la suite, nous détaillons l’impact potentiel des microplastiques sur l’homéostasie intestinale, via le triptyque épithélium/mucus/microbiote, en considérant les études in vitro et in vivo chez le rongeur. Nous proposons enfin de futures orientations dans l’étude des microplastiques sur la santé intestinale humaine. Un accent particulier porte sur la nécessité de développer des modèles in vitro gastro-intestinaux robustes afin de simuler au mieux la physiologie digestive humaine, ce qui permettra une meilleure évaluation des risques sanitaires relatifs aux microplastiques.
Article
The ubiquitous Al2O3 is anticipated to interact with nanoplastics, affecting their fate and transport in aquatic environments. In this study, the heteroaggregation and deposition behaviors of polystyrene nanoplastics (PSNPs) on Al2O3 were systematically investigated under different conditions (ionic strength, pH, and natural organic matter). The results showed that significant heteroaggregation occurred between PSNPs and Al2O3 particles under acidic and neutral conditions. When the NaCl concentration was increased from 50 to 500 mM, the heteroaggregation ratio gradually increased. However, poly (acrylic acid) (PAA) inhibited the heteroaggregation of PSNPs-Al2O3 due to steric repulsion. The deposition of PSNPs on Al2O3 surfaces was inhibited as the NaCl concentration or pH values increased. Due to charge reversal and steric repulsion, humic acid (HA) and fulvic acid (FA) prevented the deposition of PSNPs onto Al2O3 surfaces, and the former was more effective in reducing the deposition rate. The interaction mechanism between PSNPs and Al2O3 was revealed by using various characterization techniques and density function theory (DFT) calculation. The results demonstrated that in addition to the dominant electrostatic interaction, there were also weak hydrogen bonds and van der Waals interactions. Our research is of great significance for predicting the migration and fate of PSNPs in aquatic environments.
Article
Micro/nanoplastics (MP/NP) contaminate our food and drinking water but their impact on human health has not been well-documented. The liver is one of the first organs that ingested MP/NP encounter and it has a major role in the clearance of xenobiotics. Therefore, the effects of polystyrene MP/NP on liver HepG2 cells were studied. Cellular responses to particles of various sizes (50–5000 nm) and surface functionalization (aminated, carboxylated or non-functionalized) were determined at different concentrations (0.1–100 μg/mL) and exposure periods (1–24 h). Smaller sized particles were internalized by HepG2 cells more avidly than larger particles regardless of functionalization; the highest uptake being for 50 and 100 nm aminated particles at lower concentrations. Confocal microscopy images of cells corroborated quantitative uptake results. Aminated particles were more toxic to the cells than carboxylated or non-functionalized particles. Among aminated particles smaller particles (50 and 100 nm) were more detrimental to cell viability compared to larger particles (1000 or 5000 nm) with toxicity increasing with concentration. Treatment with the particles for 4 h increased intracellular concentrations of Caspase-3 by 1.5–2.8 fold, but 24 h exposure to the particles attenuated this increase in Caspase-3 concentrations. A slight trend of higher Caspase-3 concentration in cells treated with larger particles (500–5000 nm) compared to smaller particles (50–200 nm) was observed, indicating that larger particles are more likely to direct cells toward apoptotic cell death upon 4 h exposure. Exposure of cells to large PS particles (500–5000 nm) upregulated interleukin-8 and the effect was enhanced at 24 h. Overall, the study demonstrated that smaller aminated particles were most toxic to hepatocytes, but larger particles induced apoptotic cell death or an inflammatory response depending on the length of exposure.
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Human uptake abundance of microplastics via various pathways, and they accumulate in human liver, kidney, gut and even placenta (especially with a diameter of 1 μm or less). Recent scientific studies have found that exposure to microplastics causes intestinal inflammation and liver metabolic disorder, but it remains largely unknown that whether the damage and inflammation may cause further development of severe diseases. In this study, we discovered one of such potential diseases that may be induced by the exposure to small-sized microplastics (with a diameter of 1 μm) performing a multi-organ and multi-omics study comprising metabolomics and microbiome approaches. Unlike other animal experiments, the dosing strategy was applied in mice according to the daily exposure of the highly exposed population, which was more environmentally relevant and reflective of real-world human exposure. Our studies on the gut-liver axis metabolism have shown that the crosstalk between the gut and liver ultimately leaded to insulin resistance and even diabetes. We proactively verified this hypothesis by measuring the levels of fasting blood glucose and fasting insulin, which were found significantly elevated in the mice with microplastics exposure. These results indicate the urgent need of large-scale cohort evaluation on epidemiology and prognosis of insulin resistance after microplastics exposure in future.
Article
The use of biodegradable plastics may solve the pollution caused by conventional plastics in the future. However, microplastics and nanoplastics are produced during the aging process of biodegradable plastics. This work evaluated the formation of secondary microplastics and nanoplastics and the effects of aging factors (UV radiation and mechanical forces) during the degradation processes of various biodegradable plastics (poly(butylene adipate co-terephtalate) (PBAT), poly(butylene succinate) (PBS), and polylactic acid (PLA)) and conventional plastics (polyethylene (PE), polystyrene (PS), and polyvinyl chloride (PVC)). This study also assessed the combined toxicity of secondary microplastics and Triclosan (TCS) on Tigriopus japonicas. The results showed that PLA and PBS could produce many microplastics. Most secondary microplastics were smaller than 50 μm. Primary pellets were more likely to generate microplastics through mechanical degradation than via photooxidation. In contrast, PBAT/PLA and PE bags were more likely to form microplastics through photooxidation than mechanical degradation. The secondary microplastics did not affect the survival of T. japonicas and the toxicity of TCS. This study highlights that risk assessment of biodegradable plastics, especially secondary microplastics, and nanoplastics, should be assessed in future studies.
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Understanding of nanoplastic prevalence and toxicology is limited by imaging challenges resulting from their small size. Fluorescence microscopy is widely applied to track and identify microplastics in laboratory studies and environmental samples. However, conventional fluorescence microscopy, due to diffraction, lacks the resolution to precisely localize nanoplastics in tissues, distinguish them from free dye, or quantify them in environmental samples. To address these limitations, we developed techniques to label nanoplastics for imaging with stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscopy to achieve resolution at an order of magnitude superior to conventional fluorescence microscopy. These techniques include (1) passive sorption; (2) swell incorporation; and (3) covalent coupling of STED-compatible fluorescence dyes to nanoplastics. We demonstrate that our labeling techniques, combined with STED microscopy, can be used to resolve nanoplastics of different shapes and compositions as small as 50 nm. The longevity of dye labeling is demonstrated in different media and conditions of biological and environmental relevance. We also test STED imaging of nanoplastics in exposure experiments with the model worm Caenorhabditis elegans. Our work shows the value of the method for detection and localization of nanoplastics as small as 50 nm in a whole animal without disruption of the tissue. These techniques will allow more precise localization and quantification of nanoplastics in complex matrices such as biological tissues in exposure studies.
Article
Microplastics detected in potable water sources and tap water have led to concerns about the efficacy of current drinking water treatment processes to remove these contaminants. It is hypothesized that drinking water resources contain nanoplastics (NPs), but the detection of NPs is challenging. We, therefore, used palladium (Pd)-labelled NPs to investigate the behavior and removal of NPs during conventional drinking water treatment processes including ozonation, sand and activated carbon filtration. Ozone doses typically applied in drinking water treatment plants (DWTPs) hardly affect the NPs transport in the subsequent filtration systems. Amongst the different filtration media, NP particles were most efficiently retained when aged (i.e. biofilm coated) sand was used with good agreements between laboratory and pilot scale systems. The removal of NPs through multiple filtration steps in a municipal full-scale DWTP was simulated using the MNMs software code. Removal efficiencies exceeding 3-log units were modeled for a combination of three consecutive filtration steps (rapid sand filtration, activated carbon filtration and slow sand filtration with 0.4-, 0.2- and 3.0-log-removal, respectively). According to the results from the model, the removal of NPs during slow sand filtration dominated the overall NPs removal which is also supported by the laboratory-scale and pilot-scale data. The results from this study can be used to estimate the NPs removal efficiency of typical DWTPs with similar water treatment chains.
Article
Micro- and nanoplastics (MNPs) are present in almost all environmental compartments. Terrestrial soils are major environmental reservoirs for MNPs, but the ecotoxicological effects of MNPs on terrestrial biota remain relatively understudied. In this review, we collated findings of previous research on the uptake and impact of MNPs in terrestrial organisms, including flora, fauna, and human beings. Terrestrial plants can take up MNPs via the roots or leaves and translocate them to other parts. MNPs have been detected in the gastrointestinal tracts or feces of many terrestrial animals, including some high trophic-level predators, indicating the incidence of direct ingestion or trophic transfer of MNPs. The presence of MNPs in food items and human feces combines to verify human intake of MNPs via the dietary pathway. Exposure to MNPs can cause diverse effects on terrestrial organisms, including alterations in growth performance, oxidative stress, metabolic disturbance, cytotoxicity, genotoxicity, and mortality. The biological internalization and impact of MNPs are influenced by the physicochemical properties of MNPs (e.g., particle size, polymer type, surface chemistry, and exposure concentrations) and the physiology of the species. MNPs can also affect the bioavailability of co-occurring intrinsic or extrinsic contaminants to terrestrial biota, but their specific role is under dispute. Finally, we underlined the current research gaps and proposed several priorities for future studies.
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The vast amount of plastic waste emitted into the environment and the increasing concern of potential harm to wildlife has made microplastic and nanoplastic pollution a growing environmental concern. Plastic pollution has the potential to cause both physical and chemical harm to wildlife directly or via sorption, concentration, and transfer of other environmental contaminants to the wildlife that ingest plastic. Small particles of plastic pollution, termed microplastics (>100 nm and <5 mm) or nanoplastics (<100 nm), can form through fragmentation of larger pieces of plastic. These small particles are especially concerning because of their high specific surface area for sorption of contaminants as well as their potential to translocate in the bodies of organisms. These same small particles are challenging to separate and identify in environmental samples because their size makes handling and observation difficult. As a result, our understanding of the environmental prevalence of nanoplastics and microplastics is limited. Generally, the smaller the size of the plastic particle, the more difficult it is to separate from environmental samples. Currently employed passive density and size separation techniques to isolate plastics from environmental samples are not well suited to separate microplastics and nanoplastics. Passive flotation is hindered by the low buoyancy of small particles as well as the difficulty of handling small particles on the surface of flotation media. Here we suggest exploring alternative techniques borrowed from other fields of research to improve separation of the smallest plastic particles. These techniques include adapting active density separation (centrifugation) from cell biology and taking advantage of surface-interaction-based separations from analytical chemistry. Furthermore, plastic pollution is often challenging to quantify in complex matrices such as biological tissues and wastewater. Biological and wastewater samples are important matrices that represent key points in the fate and sources of plastic pollution, respectively. In both kinds of samples, protocols need to be optimized to increase throughput, reduce contamination potential, and avoid destruction of plastics during sample processing. To this end, we recommend adapting digestion protocols to match the expected composition of the nonplastic material as well as taking measures to reduce and account for contamination. Once separated, plastics in an environmental sample should ideally be characterized both visually and chemically. With existing techniques, microplastics and nanoplastics are difficult to characterize or even detect. Their low mass and small size provide limited signal for visual, vibrational spectroscopic, and mass spectrometric analyses. Each of these techniques involves trade-offs in throughput, spatial resolution, and sensitivity. To accurately identify and completely quantify microplastics and nanoplastics in environmental samples, multiple analytical techniques applied in tandem are likely to be required.
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Microplastics have recently been detected in drinking water as well as in drinking water sources. This presence has triggered discussions on possible implications for human health. However, there have been questions regarding the quality of these occurrence studies since there are no standard sampling, extraction and identification methods for microplastics. Accordingly, we assessed the quality of fifty studies researching microplastics in drinking water and in its major freshwater sources. This includes an assessment of microplastic occurrence data from river and lake water, groundwater, tap water and bottled drinking water. Studies of occurrence in wastewater were also reviewed. We review and propose best practices to sample, extract and detect microplastics and provide a quantitative quality assessment of studies reporting microplastic concentrations. Further, we summarize the findings related to microplastic concentrations, polymer types and particle shapes. Microplastics are frequently present in freshwaters and drinking water, and number concentrations spanned ten orders of magnitude (1 × 10 ⁻² to 10 ⁸ #/m ³ ) across individual samples and water types. However, only four out of 50 studies received positive scores for all proposed quality criteria, implying there is a significant need to improve quality assurance of microplastic sampling and analysis in water samples. The order in globally detected polymers in these studies is PE ≈ PP > PS > PVC > PET, which probably reflects the global plastic demand and a higher tendency for PVC and PET to settle as a result of their higher densities. Fragments, fibres, film, foam and pellets were the most frequently reported shapes. We conclude that more high quality data is needed on the occurrence of microplastics in drinking water, to better understand potential exposure and to inform human health risk assessments.
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Micro- and nanoplastics derived from environmental degradation of larger plastic debris can be ingested and accumulated in aquatic organisms, raising increasing global ecological concerns. Toxicology studies on aquatic organisms predominantly use commercial formulations of micro- and nano-sized polystyrene particles as model plastics. However, many of these commercially available formulations contain different preservatives, antimicrobials, or surfactants such as sodium azide, Tween® 20, and sodium dodecyl sulfate, which may introduce artifacts in toxicity assessments. In this study, we carried out acute toxicity tests on Daphnia magna, using commercial 20 nm and 200 nm polystyrene nanoparticles (PS-NPs) containing 2 mM sodium azide as an antimicrobial preservative. The acute toxicity of non-dialyzed PS-NPs, dialyzed PS-NPs, and sodium azide alone was compared. The results reveal that the acute toxicity of the complete commercial formulation of PS-NPs was mainly associated with sodium azide and not the particles themselves. The dialyzed PS-NPs did not cause mortality but significantly disrupted the swimming behavior of D. magna. As commercial PS-NPs are commonly and increasingly used in plastic toxicity assessments, these results highlight the importance of considering the impacts of the suspension matrix.
Poster
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ASSESSMENT OF MICROPLASTIC CONCENTRATIONS IN HUMAN STOOL FINAL RESULTS OF A PROSPECTIVE STUDY
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Eleven globally sourced brands of bottled water, purchased in 19 locations in nine different countries, were tested for microplastic contamination using Nile Red tagging. Of the 259 total bottles processed, 93% showed some sign of microplastic contamination. After accounting for possible background (lab) contamination, an average of 10.4 microplastic particles >100 um in size per liter of bottled water processed were found. Fragments were the most common morphology (66%) followed by fibers. Half of these particles were confirmed to be polymeric in nature using FTIR spectroscopy with polypropylene being the most common polymer type (54%), which matches a common plastic used for the manufacture of bottle caps. A small fraction of particles (4%) showed the presence of industrial lubricants. While spectroscopic analysis of particles smaller than 100 um was not possible, the adsorption of the Nile Red dye indicates that these particles are most probably plastic. Including these smaller particles (6.5–100 um), an average of 325 microplastic particles per liter of bottled water was found. Microplastic contamination range of 0 to over 10,000 microplastic particles per liter with 95% of particles being between 6.5 and 100 um in size. Data suggests the contamination is at least partially coming from the packaging and/or the bottling process itself. Given the prevalence of the consumption of bottled water across the globe, the results of this study support the need for further studies on the impacts of micro- and nano- plastics on human health.
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Understanding the global mass inventory is one of the main challenges in present research on plastic marine debris. Especially the fragmentation and vertical transport processes of oceanic plastic are poorly understood. However, whereas fragmentation rates are unknown, information on plastic emissions, concentrations of plastics in the ocean surface layer (OSL) and fragmentation mechanisms is available. Here, we apply a systems engineering analytical approach and propose a tentative 'whole ocean' mass balance model that combines emission data, surface area-normalized plastic fragmentation rates, estimated concentrations in the OSL, and removal from the OSL by sinking. We simulate known plastic abundances in the OSL and calculate an average whole ocean apparent surface area-normalized plastic fragmentation rate constant, given representative radii for macroplastic and microplastic. Simulations show that 99.8% of the plastic that had entered the ocean since 1950 had settled below the OSL by 2016, with an additional 9.4 million tons settling per year. In 2016, the model predicts that of the 0.309 million tons in the OSL, an estimated 83.7% was macroplastic, 13.8% microplastic, and 2.5% was < 0.335 mm 'nanoplastic'. A zero future emission simulation shows that almost all plastic in the OSL would be removed within three years, implying a fast response time of surface plastic abundance to changes in inputs. The model complements current spatially explicit models, points to future experiments that would inform critical model parameters, and allows for further validation when more experimental and field data become available.
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The tremendous increases in production of plastic materials has led to an accumulation of plastic pollution worldwide. Many studies have addressed the physical effects of large-sized plastics on organisms, whereas few have focused on plastic nanoparticles, despite their distinct chemical, physical and mechanical properties. Hence our understanding of their effects on ecosystem function, behaviour and metabolism of organisms remains elusive. Here we demonstrate that plastic nanoparticles reduce survival of aquatic zooplankton and penetrate the blood-to-brain barrier in fish and cause behavioural disorders. Hence, for the first time, we uncover direct interactions between plastic nanoparticles and brain tissue, which is the likely mechanism behind the observed behavioural disorders in the top consumer. In a broader perspective, our findings demonstrate that plastic nanoparticles are transferred up through a food chain, enter the brain of the top consumer and affect its behaviour, thereby severely disrupting the function of natural ecosystems.
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Microplastics are a pollutant of environmental concern. Their presence in food destined for human consumption and in air samples has been reported. Thus, microplastic exposure via diet or inhalation could occur, the human health effects of which are unknown. The current review article draws upon cross-disciplinary scientific literature to discuss and evaluate the potential human health impacts of microplastics and outlines urgent areas for future research. Key literature up to September 2016 relating to bioaccumulation, particle toxicity, and chemical and microbial contaminants were critically examined. Whilst this is an emerging field, complimentary existing fields indicate potential particle, chemical and microbial hazards. If inhaled or ingested, microplastics may bioaccumulate and exert localised particle toxicity by inducing or enhancing an immune response. Chemical toxicity could occur due to the localised leaching of component monomers, endogenous additives, and adsorbed environmental pollutants. Chronic exposure is anticipated to be of greater concern due to the accumulative effect which could occur. This is expected to be dose-dependent, and a robust evidence-base of exposure levels is currently lacking. Whilst there is potential for microplastics to impact human health, assessing current exposure levels and burdens is key. This information will guide future research into the potential mechanisms of toxicity and hence therein possible health effects.
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Microplastics (MPs) are a significant environmental health issue and increasingly greater source of concern. MPs have been detected in oceans, rivers, sediments, sewages, soil and even table salts. MPs exposure on marine organisms and humans has been documented, but information about the toxicity of MPs in mammal is limited. Here we used fluorescent and pristine polystyrene microplastics (PS-MPs) particles with two diameters (5 μm and 20 μm) to investigate the tissue distribution, accumulation, and tissue-specific health risk of MPs in mice. Results indicated that MPs accumulated in liver, kidney and gut, with a tissue-accumulation kinetics and distribution pattern that was strongly depended on the MPs particle size. In addition, analyses of multiple biochemical biomarkers and metabolomic profiles suggested that MPs exposure induced disturbance of energy and lipid metabolism as well as oxidative stress. Interestingly, blood biomarkers of neurotoxicity were also altered. Our results uncovered the distribution and accumulation of MPs across mice tissues and revealed significant alteration in several biomarkers that indicate potential toxicity from MPs exposure. Collectively, our data provided new evidence for the adverse consequences of MPs.
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The use of quantum dots (QDs) for nanomedicine is hampered by their potential toxicologic effects and difficulties with delivery into the cell interior. We accomplished an in vivo study exploiting Daphnia magna and Xenopus laevis to evaluate both toxicity and uptake of QDs coated with the membranotropic peptide gH625 derived from the glycoprotein H of herpes simplex virus and widely used for drug delivery studies. We evaluated and compared the effects of QDs and gH625-QDs on the survival, uptake, induction of several responsive pathways and genotoxicity in D. magna, and we found that QDs coating plays a key role. Moreover, studies on X. laevis embryos allowed to better understand their cell/tissue localization and delivery efficacy. X. laevis embryos raised in Frog Embryo Teratogenesis Assay-Xenopus containing QDs or gH625-QDs showed that both nanoparticles localized in the gills, lung and intestine, but they showed different distributions, indicating that the uptake of gH625-QDs was enhanced; the functionalized QDs had a significantly lower toxic effect on embryos’ survival and phenotypes. We observed that D. magna and X. laevis are useful in vivo models for toxicity and drug delivery studies.
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The release of plastics into the environment has been identified as an important issue for some time. Recent publications have suggested that the degradation of plastic materials will result in the release of nano-sized plastic particles to the environment. Nanoparticle tracking analysis was applied to characterise the formation of nanoplastics during the degradation of a polystyrene (PS) disposable coffee cup lid. The results clearly show an increase in the formation of nanoplastics over time. After 56 days' exposure the concentration of nanoplastics in the PS sample was 1.26 × 108 particles/ml (average particles size 224 nm) compared to 0.41 × 108 particles/ml in the control.
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Increased tea consumption in combination with intensive pesticide use is generating heavy metal contaminations amongst Brazilian tea consumers, causing health concerns. Inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES) was applied to quantify minerals and heavy metals such as aluminum, barium, cadmium, lead, cobalt, copper, chromium, tin, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, selenium, silver, thallium, vanadium and zinc in Brazilian chamomile, lemongrass, fennel and yerba mate teas. Teas, purchased in local supermarkets, were prepared using infusion and acid digestion. Higher concentrations of Al were present in all samples. In the digested samples, the Al mean concentration was 2.41 μg g(-1) (sd = 0.72) for fennel and 33.42 μg g(-1) (sd = 17.18) for chamomile, whilst the sample C for chamomile tea presented the highest concentration with 51.62 μg g(-1) (sd = 9.17). The safety relation in decreasing order is fennel, lemongrass, chamomile and yerba mate. Chemometric analyses demonstrated a strong correlation between the elements Cd and Pb in the samples. Yerba mate had the highest amount of metal (100 mg kg(-1)), being the subject of a micronucleus test assay for cytotoxicity. The metals found in Yerba mate did not present cytotoxicity/mutagenicity using the micronucleus test. The inorganic contaminants in teas should have their impact carefully monitored.
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Plastic pollution is ubiquitous throughout the marine environment, yet estimates of the global abundance and weight of floating plastics have lacked data, particularly from the Southern Hemisphere and remote regions. Here we report an estimate of the total number of plastic particles and their weight floating in the world’s oceans from 24 expeditions (2007–2013) across all five sub-tropical gyres, costal Australia, Bay of Bengal and the Mediterranean Sea conducting surface net tows (N5680) and visual survey transects of large plastic debris (N5891). Using an oceanographic model of floating debris dispersal calibrated by our data, and correcting for wind-driven vertical mixing, we estimate a minimum of 5.25 trillion particles weighing 268,940 tons. When comparing between four size classes, two microplastic ,4.75 mm and meso- and macroplastic .4.75 mm, a tremendous loss of microplastics is observed from the sea surface compared to expected rates of fragmentation, suggesting there are mechanisms at play that remove ,4.75 mm plastic particles from the ocean surface.
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The amount of nano- and microplastic in the aquatic environment rises due to the industrial production of plastic and the degradation of plastic into smaller particles. Concerns have been raised about their incorporation into food webs. Little is known about the fate and effects of nanoplastic, especially for the freshwater environment. In this study, effects of nano polystyrene (Nano-PS) on the growth and photosynthesis of the green alga Scenedesmus obliquus and the growth, mortality, neonate production and malformations of the zooplankter Daphnia magna were assessed. Nano-PS reduced population growth and reduced chlorophyll concentrations in the algae. Exposed Daphnia showed a reduced body size and severe alterations in reproduction. Numbers and body size of neonates were lower, while the number of neonate malformations among neonates rose to 68% of the individuals. These effects of Nano-PS were observed between 0.22 and 103 mg Nano-PS/L. Malformations occurred from 30 mg Nano-PS/L onwards. Such plastic concentrations are much higher than presently reported for marine as well as freshwater, but may eventually occur in sediment pore waters. As far as we know, these results are the first to show that direct life history shifts in algae and Daphnia populations may occur as a result of exposure to nanoplastic.
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Background: While the use of plastic materials has generated huge societal benefits, the ‘plastic age’ comes with downsides: One issue of emerging concern is the accumulation of plastics in the aquatic environment. Here, so-called microplastics (MP), fragments smaller than 5 mm, are of special concern because they can be ingested throughout the food web more readily than larger particles. Focusing on freshwater MP, we briefly review the state of the science to identify gaps of knowledge and deduce research needs. State of the science: Environmental scientists started investigating marine (micro)plastics in the early 2000s. Today, a wealth of studies demonstrates that MP have ubiquitously permeated the marine ecosystem, including the polar regions and the deep sea. MP ingestion has been documented for an increasing number of marine species. However, to date, only few studies investigate their biological effects. The majority of marine plastics are considered to originate from land-based sources, including surface waters. Although they may be important transport pathways of MP, data from freshwater ecosystems is scarce. So far, only few studies provide evidence for the presence of MP in rivers and lakes. Data on MP uptake by freshwater invertebrates and fish is very limited. Knowledge gaps: While the research on marine MP is more advanced, there are immense gaps of knowledge regarding freshwater MP. Data on their abundance is fragmentary for large and absent for small surface waters.Likewise, relevant sources and the environmental fate remain to be investigated. Data on the biological effects of MP in freshwater species is completely lacking. The accumulation of other freshwater contaminants on MP is of special interest because ingestion might increase the chemical exposure. Again, data is unavailable on this important issue. Conclusions: MP represent freshwater contaminants of emerging concern. However, to assess the environmental risk associated with MP, comprehensive data on their abundance, fate, sources, and biological effects in freshwater ecosystems are needed. Establishing such data critically depends on a collaborative effort by environmental scientists from diverse disciplines (chemistry, hydrology, ecotoxicology, etc.) and, unsurprisingly, on the allocation of sufficient public funding.
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Marine ecosystem contamination by microplastics is extensively documented. However few data is available on the contamination of continental water bodies and associated fauna. The aim of this study was to address the occurrence of microplastics in digestive tract of gudgeons (Gobio gobio) from French rivers. These investigations confirm that continental fish ingested microplastics while 12% of collected fish are contaminated by these small particles. Further works are needed to evaluate the occurence of this contamination.
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Individual swimming behavior of zooplankton can play an important role in determining how planktivorous fish select their prey. Although several studies have documented the effect of prey size, contrast or degree of pigmentation, escape ability, encounter rate and abundance in determining predation risk, the importance of individual behavior has received relatively little attention by aquatic ecologists. Recent advances in the technology of video recording and computer analysis of motion have allowed us to collect digitized three-dimensional video records of free-swimming zooplankton such as Daphnia. We found that Daphnia clones, including those within a single species, exhibit a wide range of swimming behaviors as measured by swimming speed. The individual behavior of a species cannot be adequately described by looking at one clone. We also show that different behavior observed in live Daphnia can play an important role in determining attractiveness to visual predators. Given a choice between two clones of equal size and visibility contrast, fish selected individuals from the faster swimming clone. Our results suggest that current models of prey selection would be improved by the incorporation of individual swimming behavior because it is an important factor determining overall prey visibility.
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XPSmeasurements of nylon 6 recorded with a SSX-100 spectrometer in standardized experimental conditions are presented: survey scan, high resolution core level spectra as well as the energy loss regions of carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen peaks are analyzed. This is part of a contract work aiming to record spectra in the very same conditions of some forty different polymers.
Article
Microplastics are ubiquitous across ecosystems, yet the exposure risk to humans is unresolved. Focusing on the American diet, we evaluated the number of microplastic particles in commonly consumed foods in relation to their recommended daily intake. The potential for microplastic inhalation and how the source of drinking water may affect microplastic consumption were also explored. Our analysis used 402 data points from 26 studies, which represents over 3600 processed samples. Evaluating approximately 15% of Americans' caloric intake, we estimate that annual microplastics consumption ranges from 39000 to 52000 particles depending on age and sex. These estimates increase to 74000 and 121000 when inhalation is considered. Additionally, individuals who meet their recommended water intake through only bottled sources may be ingesting an additional 90000 microplastics annually, compared to 4000 microplastics for those who consume only tap water. These estimates are subject to large amounts of variation; however, given methodological and data limitations, these values are likely underestimates.
Article
In situ studies of plastic deterioration can help us understand the longevity of macroplastic as well as the generation of microplastics in the environment. Photo-oxidation contributing to the generation of microplastics in the marine environment was explored using four types of plastic (polyethene, polystyrene, poly(ethylene tetraphthalate) and Biothene® exposed in light and in shade, in both air and sea water. Metrics for deterioration were tensile extensibility and oxidation rate. Measurements were conducted at intervals between 7 and 600 days' exposure. Deterioration was faster in air than in sea water and was further accelerated in direct light compared to shade. Extensibility and oxidation were significantly inversely correlated in samples exposed in air. Samples in sea water lost extensibility at a slower rate. Polystyrene, which enters the waste stream rapidly due to its wide application in packaging, deteriorated fastest and is, therefore, likely to form microplastics more rapidly than other materials, especially when exposed to high levels of irradiation, for example when stranded on the shore.
Article
The accumulation of plastic litter in natural environments is a global issue. Concerns over potential negative impacts on the economy, wildlife, and human health provide strong incentives for improving the sustainable use of plastics. Despite the many voices raised on the issue, we lack a consensus on how to define and categorize plastic debris. This is evident for microplastics, where inconsistent size classes are used, and where the materials to be included are under debate. While this is inherent in an emerging research field, an ambiguous terminology results in confusion and miscommunication that may compromise progress in research and mitigation measures. Therefore, we need to be explicit on what exactly we consider plastic debris. Thus, we critically discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a unified terminology, propose a definition and categorization framework and highlight areas of uncertainty. Going beyond size classes, our framework includes physico-chemical properties (polymer composition, solid state, solubility) as defining criteria and size, shape, color, and origin as classifiers for categorization. Acknowledging the rapid evolution of our knowledge on plastic pollution, our framework will promote consensus-building within the scientific and regulatory community based on a solid scientific foundation.
Article
The study investigates the content of microplastic particles in freshwater and drinking water. Specifically, three water treatment plants (WTPs) supplied by different kinds of water bodies were selected and their raw and treated water was analysed for microplastics (MPs). Microplastics were found in all water samples and their average abundance ranged from 1473 ± 34 to 3605 ± 497 particles L-1 in raw water and from 338 ± 76 to 628 ± 28 particles L-1 in treated water, depending on the WTP. This study is one of very few that determine microplastics down to the size of 1 μm, while MPs smaller than 10 μm were the most plentiful in both raw and treated water samples, accounting for up to 95%. Further, MPs were divided into three categories according to their shape. Fragments clearly prevailed at two of the WTPs and fibres together with fragments predominated at one case. Despite 12 different materials forming the microplastics being identified, the majority of the MPs (>70%) comprised of PET (polyethylene terephthalate), PP (polypropylene) and PE (polyethylene). This study contributes to fill the knowledge gap in the field of emerging microplastic pollution of drinking water and water sources, which is of concern due to the potential exposure of microplastics to humans.
Article
Apomorphine (APO) is a non-selective agonist of dopamine receptor activating D2-like receptors. Although Daphnia has been used in neurotoxicology in toxicity testing, little is known on its behavioural and physiological responses to dopamine receptors ligands. Therefore, the aim of our study was to determine swimming behaviour (swimming track density, speed, turning activity) and physiological parameters such as heart rate, thoracic limb activity and post-abdominal claw movement frequency in daphnids exposed for 1, 2 and 4 h to concentrations of 0.3, 3 and 30 mg/L of APO. The results showed the most significant decrease of behavioural endpoints such as swimming track density, speed and degree of turning angles of daphnids exposed for 4 h to the highest concentrations of APO. The study also showed that a decrease of thoracic limb activity was found after 2 and 4 h but only at the highest concentration. Heart rate was not affected by APO which may be a result of a lack of signalling with dopamine receptors in the heart of Daphnia. Therefore, activity of this organ seems to be not a valuable physiological biomarker in the assessment of effects induced by dopamine receptor ligands. The study also showed that our new methodological approach, imaging of swimming track density may be a promising tool for studying the effects of neuroactive substances on locomotor system activity of Daphnia magna.
Article
Plastic pollution is a critical environmental concern and comprises the majority of anthropogenic debris in the ocean, including macro, micro, and likely nanoscale (less than 100nm in at least one dimension) plastic particles. While the toxicity of macroplastics and microplastics is relatively well studied, the toxicity of nanoplastics is largely uncharacterized. Here, fluorescent polystyrene nanoparticles (PS NPs) were used to investigate the potential toxicity of nanoplastics in developing zebrafish (Danio rerio), as well as to characterize the uptake and distribution of the particles within embryos and larvae. Zebrafish embryos at 6h post-fertilization (hpf) were exposed to PS NPs (0.1, 1, or 10ppm) until 120 hpf. Our results demonstrate that PS NPs accumulated in the yolk sac as early as 24 hpf and migrated to the gastrointestinal tract, gallbladder, liver, pancreas, heart, and brain throughout development (48-120 hpf). Accumulation of PS NPs decreased during the depuration phase (120-168 hpf) in all organs, but at a slower rate in the pancreas and gastrointestinal tract. Notably, exposure to PS NPs did not induce significant mortality, deformities, or changes to mitochondrial bioenergetics, but did decrease the heart rate. Lastly, exposure to PS NPs altered larval behavior as evidenced by swimming hypoactivity in exposed larvae. Taken together, these data suggest that at least some nanoplastics can penetrate the chorion of developing zebrafish, accumulate in the tissues, and affect physiology and behavior, potentially affecting organismal fitness in contaminated aquatic ecosystems.
Article
Plastic wastes are among the major inputs of detritus into aquatic ecosystems. Also, during recent years the increasing use of new materials such as nanomaterials (NMs) in industrial and household applications has contributed to the complexity of waste mixtures in aquatic systems. The current effects and the synergism and antagonisms of mixtures of microplastics (MPLs), NMs and organic compounds on the environment and in human health have, to date, not been well understood but instead they are a cause for general concern. The aim of this work is to contribute to a better understanding of the cytotoxicity of NMs and microplastics/nanoplastics (MPLs/NPLs), at cell level in terms of oxidative stress (evaluating Reactive Oxygen Species effect) and cell viability. Firstly, the individual cytotoxicity of metal nanoparticles (NPs) (AgNPs and AuNPs), of metal oxide NPs (ZrO2NPs, CeO2NPs, TiO2NPs, and Al2O3NPs), carbon nanomaterials (C60fullerene, graphene), and MPLs of polyethylene (PE) and polystyrene (PS) has been evaluated in vitro. Two different cellular lines T98G and HeLa, cerebral and epithelial human cells, respectively, were employed. The cells were exposed during 24-48h to different levels of contaminants, from 10ng/mL to 10µg/mL, under the same conditions. Secondly, the synergistic and antagonistic relationships between fullerenes and other organic contaminants, including an organophosphate insecticide (malathion), a surfactant (sodium dodecylbenzenesulfonate) and a plasticiser (diethyl phthalate) were assessed. The obtained results confirm that oxidative stress is one of the mechanisms of cytotoxicity at cell level, as has been observed for both cell lines and contributes to the current knowledge of the effects of NMs and MPLs-NPLs.
Article
Fragmentation of plastic debris and the commercial use of plastic microbeads have led to the widespread distribution of microplastics in natural environments. Several studies have reported on the occurrence and toxicity of microplastics in soils and waters; however, due to methodological challenges, the presence and impact of nanoplastics (<100 nm) in natural systems have been largely ignored. Microbeads used in consumer products such as scrubs and shampoos are processed by mechanical means that may lead to their fragmentation into potentially more hazardous nanoplastics. In this study, three commercial facial scrubs containing polyethylene microbeads (~0.2 mm diameter) were examined to verify whether they contained nanoplastics. Particulates in the scrubs were fractionated using sequential filtration to isolate particles smaller than 100 nm. Scanning electron microscopy was used to confirm the presence of nanoparticles ranging in size from 24 ± 6 nm to 52 ± 14 nm. X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy were used to confirm that the identified nanoparticles consisted of polyethylene. This study confirms the (unexpected) presence of nanoplastics in personal care products containing polyethylene microbeads and highlights the need for further studies to characterize the release and distribution of nanoplastic litter in natural aquatic and soil environments.
Book
Survey's the issues typically raised in discussions of sustainability and plastics Discusses current issues not covered in detail previously such as ocean litter, migration of additives into food products and the recovery of plastics Covers post-consumer fate of plastics on land and in the oceans, highlighting the environmental impacts of disposal methods Details toxicity of plastics, particularly as it applies to human health Presents a clear analysis of the key plastic-related issues including numerous citations of the research base that supports and contradicts the popularly held notions.