Emerging and legacy plasticisers in coastal and estuarine environments: a review

Billings, Alex ORCID:; Jones, Kevin C.; Pereira, M. Glória ORCID:; Spurgeon, David J. ORCID: 2024 Emerging and legacy plasticisers in coastal and estuarine environments: a review. Science of The Total Environment, 908, 168462. 13, pp.

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The occurrence of plastic waste in the environment is an emerging and ongoing concern. In addition to the physical impacts of macroplastics and microplastics on organisms, the chemical effects of plastic additives such as plasticisers have also received increasing attention. Research concerning plasticiser pollution in estuaries and coastal environments has been a particular focus, as these environments are the primary entry point for anthropogenic contaminants into the wider marine environment. Additionally, the conditions in estuarine environments favour the sedimentation of suspended particulate matter, with which plasticisers are strongly associated. Hence, estuary systems may be where some of the highest concentrations of these pollutants are seen in freshwater and marine environments. Recent studies have confirmed emerging plasticisers and phthalates as pollutants in estuaries, with the relative abundance of these compounds controlled primarily by patterns of use, source intensity, and fate. Plasticiser profiles are typically dominated by mid-high molecular weight compounds such as DnBP, DiBP, and DEHP. Plasticisers may be taken up by estuarine and marine organisms, and some phthalates can cause negative impacts in marine organisms, although further research is required to assess the impacts of emerging plasticisers. This review provides an overview of the processes controlling the release and partitioning of emerging and legacy plasticisers in aqueous environments, in addition to the sources of plasticisers in estuarine and coastal environments. This is followed by a quantitative analysis and discussion of literature concerning the (co-)occurrence and concentrations of emerging plasticisers and phthalates in these environments. We end this review with a discussion the fate (degradation and uptake by biota) of these compounds, in addition to identification of knowledge gaps and recommendations for future research.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Pollution (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 1879-1026
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: plasticiser, phthalate, sediment, estuary, coastal, emerging
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 04 Dec 2023 15:56 +0 (UTC)

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