Qualitative impact of salinity, UV radiation and turbulence on leaching of organic plastic additives from four common plastics – A lab experiment

Four common consumer plastic samples (polyethylene, polystyrene, polyethylene terephthalate, polyvinylchloride) were studied to investigate the impact of physical parameters such as turbulence, salinity and UV irradiance on leaching behavior of selected plastic components. Polymers were exposed to two different salinities (i.e. 0 and 35 g/kg), UV radiation and turbulence. Additives (e.g. bisphenol A, phthalates, citrates, and Irgafos® 168 phosphate) and oligomers were detected in initial plastics and aqueous extracts. Identification and quantification was performed by GC–FID/MS. Bisphenol A and citrate based additives are leached easier compared to phthalates. The print highly contributed to the chemical burden of the analyzed polyethylene bag. The study underlines a positive relationship between turbulence and magnitude of leaching. Salinity had a minor impact that differs for each analyte. Global annual release of additives from assessed plastics into marine environments is estimated to be between 35 and 917 tons, of which most are derived from plasticized polyvinylchloride.

 

Tim Jesper Suhrhoff, Barbara M. Scholz-Böttcher, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 102, Issue 1, Pages 84–94, 15 January 2016

The article

 

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