Plasticisers in the terrestrial environment: sources, occurrence and fate

Billings, Alex ORCID:; Jones, Kevin C.; Pereira, M. Gloria ORCID:; Spurgeon, David J. ORCID: 2021 Plasticisers in the terrestrial environment: sources, occurrence and fate. Environmental Chemistry, 18 (3). 111-130.

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Modern society is widely dependent upon plastic. Therefore, it is unsurprising that macro- and microplastic pollution is found in every environmental compartment on earth. Plasticisers are chemicals added to plastics to increase their flexibility. Like plastics themselves, plasticisers are also widely present in the environment. Plasticisers and plastic debris may undergo long-range transport in the atmosphere and the oceans, contaminating even the most remote areas of land. In addition, although plasticisers typically degrade in a matter of weeks–months, they can persist in soil for decades and have been shown to occur in all land uses studied. Some plasticisers are genotoxic and can be taken up by soil organisms, which may pose a risk to ecosystems and human health. To date the majority of data on plasticisers exists for phthalates. However, plasticisers are a diverse range of chemicals and with the increasing transfer to non-phthalate alternatives, research into the fate and effects of emerging plasticisers is required to determine their environmental risk and management options. Data on the occurrence and ecotoxicity of emerging plasticisers, in addition to the impacts of all plasticisers on terrestrial ecosystems, therefore, remain a key research need within the wider plastics debate.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Pollution (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 1448-2517
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: plasticiser, soil, phthalate, microplastic, nanoplastic, plastic, terrestrial, plastic pollution, hazard, litter
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 13 Sep 2021 11:54 +0 (UTC)

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