Microplastics in aquatic environments: Implications for Canadian ecosystems

Microplastics have been increasingly detected and quantified in marine and freshwater environments, and there are growing concerns about potential effects in biota. A literature review was conducted to summarize the current state of knowledge of microplastics in Canadian aquatic environments; specifically, the sources, environmental fate, behaviour, abundance, and toxicological effects in aquatic organisms. While we found that research and publications on these topics have increased dramatically since 2010, relatively few studies have assessed the presence, fate, and effects of microplastics in Canadian water bodies. We suggest that efforts to determine aquatic receptors at greatest risk of detrimental effects due to microplastic exposure, and their associated contaminants, are particularly warranted. There is also a need to address the gaps identified, with a particular focus on the species and conditions found in Canadian aquatic systems. These gaps include characterization of the presence of microplastics in Canadian freshwater ecosystems, identifying key sources of microplastics to these systems, and evaluating the presence of microplastics in Arctic waters and biota.

Julie C. Anderson, Bradley J. Park, Vince P. Palace, Environmental Pollution, Volume 218, November 2016, Pages 269–280

The article

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