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Mar Pollut Bull. 2019 Jan;138:145-147. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2018.11.022. Epub 2018 Nov 22.

Microplastics: Finding a consensus on the definition.

Author information

1
Marine and Freshwater Research Centre (MFRC), Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), Dublin Rd., Galway, H91 T8NW, Ireland. Electronic address: joao.frias@gmit.ie.
2
Marine and Freshwater Research Centre (MFRC), Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), Dublin Rd., Galway, H91 T8NW, Ireland. Electronic address: roisin.nash@gmit.ie.

Abstract

Polymer science is one of the most revolutionary research areas of the last century, instigated by the discovery of Bakelite, the first synthetic plastic. Plastic, once a revolutionary material, has gradually become a global environmental threat with ubiquitous distribution. The term 'microplastics' coined in 2004, is used to describe the smaller plastic particles recorded, however there is still no all-inclusive definition that accurately encompasses all criteria that could potentially describe what a microplastic is. Here, the authors focus on the currently reported methods for describing and identifying microplastics and propose a new definition that incorporates all the important descriptive properties of microplastics. This definition not only focuses on size and origin, but also considers physical and chemical defining properties. While this manuscript may promote debate, it aims to reach a consensus on a definition for microplastics which can be useful for research, reporting and legislative purposes.

KEYWORDS:

Definition; Marine anthropogenic litter; Marine strategy framework directive; Monitoring; Policy; Pollution

PMID:
30660255
DOI:
10.1016/j.marpolbul.2018.11.022
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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