Microplastics are not important for the cycling and bioaccumulation of organic pollutants in the oceans—but should microplastics be considered POPs themselves?

The role of microplastic particles in the cycling and bioaccumulation of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) is discussed. Five common concepts, sometimes misconceptions, about the role of microplastics are reviewed. While there is ample evidence that microplastics accumulate high concentrations of POPs, this does not result in microplastics being important for the global dispersion of POPs. Similarly, there is scant evidence that microplastics are an important transfer vector of POPs into animals, but possibly for plastic additives (flame retardants). Last, listing microplastics as POPs could help reduce their environmental impact.

R. Lohmann, Integrated Env. Assessment and Management, Volume 13, Issue 3, May 2017, Pages 460–465

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