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Sci Total Environ. 2018 Mar;616-617:1505-1512. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.10.163. Epub 2017 Oct 28.

Occurrences of organophosphorus esters and phthalates in the microplastics from the coastal beaches in north China.

Author information

1
Key Laboratory of Soil Contamination Bioremediation of Zhejiang Province, Zhejiang A&F University, Hangzhou 311300, China; Key Laboratory of Coastal Environmental Processes and Ecological Remediation, Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Yantai 264003, China.
2
Key Laboratory of Coastal Environmental Processes and Ecological Remediation, Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Yantai 264003, China; University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China.
3
Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Centre for Materials and Coastal Research, Institute of Coastal Research, Geesthacht, 21502, Germany.
4
Key Laboratory of Coastal Environmental Processes and Ecological Remediation, Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Yantai 264003, China.
5
MINJIE Analytical Laboratory, Geesthacht, 21502, Germany.
6
Nanjing Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210008, China.
7
Key Laboratory of Coastal Environmental Processes and Ecological Remediation, Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Yantai 264003, China; University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China. Electronic address: ymluo@yic.ac.cn.

Abstract

Chemical pollution in the microplastics has been concerned worldwide as pollutants might potentially transfer from the environment to living organisms via plastics. Here, we investigate organophosphorus esters (OPEs) and phthalic acid esters (PAEs) in the beached microplastics collected from 28 coastal beaches of the Bohai and Yellow Sea in north China. The analyzed microplastics included polyethylene (PE) pellets and fragments, polypropylene (PP) flakes and fragments and polystyrene (PS) foams. The tris-(2-chloroethyl)-phosphate (TCEP), tris (1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TCPP) and di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) were the three predominant compounds found overall. The maximum Σ4 OPEs concentration was 84,595.9ngg-1, almost three orders of magnitude higher than the maximum Σ9 PAEs concentration. The PP flakes and PS foams contained the highest concentrations of the additives in contrast to the PE pellets which contained the lowest. The high concentration level of carcinogenic chlorinated OPEs and DEHP with endocrine disrupting effects implied the suggested potential hazards to coastal organisms. Spatial differences and compositional variation of the additives among the different microplastics suggests different origins and residence times in the coastal environment. This indicates that the characteristics of chemical additives might be a useful approach when tracing sources of microplastics in the environment.

KEYWORDS:

Chemical additives; Coastal beaches; Microplastics; Source identification; Spatial variation

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