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J Hazard Mater. 2015 Dec 30;300:359-367. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2015.07.039. Epub 2015 Jul 18.

Global styrene oligomers monitoring as new chemical contamination from polystyrene plastic marine pollution.

Author information

1
Department of Bioenvironmental & Chemical Engineering, Chosun College of Science & Technology, 309-1 Pilmundae-ro, Dong-gu, Gwangju 501-744, Republic of Korea. Electronic address: kwonbg0@daum.net.
2
Department of Chemistry, College of Science and Technology, Nihon University, 7-24-1, Narashinodai, Funabashi-shi, Chiba 274-8501, Japan.
3
Department of Environment and Energy Engineering, College of Engineering, Chonnam National University, 77 Yongbong-ro, Buk-gu, Gwangju 500-757, Republic of Korea.
4
National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), 16-1 Onogawa Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8569, Japan.
5
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, Hanyang University, 222 Wangsimni-ro, Seongdong-gu, Seoul 133-791, Republic of Korea.
6
National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), 16-1 Onogawa Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8569, Japan. Electronic address: ka-saido@aist.go.jp.

Abstract

Polystyrene (PS) plastic marine pollution is an environmental concern. However, a reliable and objective assessment of the scope of this problem, which can lead to persistent organic contaminants, has yet to be performed. Here, we show that anthropogenic styrene oligomers (SOs), a possible indicator of PS pollution in the ocean, are found globally at concentrations that are higher than those expected based on the stability of PS. SOs appear to persist to varying degrees in the seawater and sand samples collected from beaches around the world. The most persistent forms are styrene monomer, styrene dimer, and styrene trimer. Sand samples from beaches, which are commonly recreation sites, are particularly polluted with these high SOs concentrations. This finding is of interest from both scientific and public perspectives because SOs may pose potential long-term risks to the environment in combination with other endocrine disrupting chemicals. From SOs monitoring results, this study proposes a flow diagram for SOs leaching from PS cycle. Using this flow diagram, we conclude that SOs are global contaminants in sandy beaches around the world due to their broad spatial distribution.

KEYWORDS:

Leaching; Persistent; Plastic pollution; Polystyrene; Styrene oligomers

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