Microplastics in the aquatic and terrestrial environment: sources (with a specific focus on personal care products), fate and effects

Due to the widespread use and durability of synthetic polymers, plastic debris occurs in the environment worldwide. In the present work, information on sources and fate of microplastic particles in the aquatic and terrestrial environment, and on their uptake and effects, mainly in aquatic organisms, is reviewed. Microplastics in the environment originate from a variety of sources. Quantitative information on the relevance of these sources is generally lacking, but first estimates indicate that abrasion and fragmentation of larger plastic items and materials containing synthetic polymers are likely to be most relevant. Microplastics are ingested and, mostly, excreted rapidly by numerous aquatic organisms. (…)

Karen Duis, Anja Coors, Review, Environmental Sciences Europe, 28:2, January 2016 (open access)

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