Microplastics found in human stools for the first time: Study

In a study presented at a prestigious global gastroenterology conference, there was a surprising revelation – small plastic pieces, also known as microplastics, were found in stool samples of participants, thereby suggesting there may be a significant amount of microplastic present in the human food chain.

Based on this study, the authors estimated that “more than 50% of the world population might have microplastics in their stools”. Samples from the eight subjects were sent to a laboratory in Vienna where they were analysed using a Fourier-transform infrared microspectrometer.

Researchers from the Environment Agency Austria and the Medical University of Vienna followed eight healthy volunteers from different parts of the world – Finland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, United Kingdom and Austria. The participants supposedly maintained a diary in which they logged in what food or drink they consumed for a week. The researchers then tested their stool for 10 different types of plastics. It was found that all of their stool samples were found to contain microplastic particles. On an average, 20 particles of microplastic were found in each 10 grams of excreta. (…) (indianexpress.com, 24/10/2018)

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Plastic pollution: Scientists identify two more potential ‘garbage patch’ zones in world’s oceans

Study attempts to locate remaining 99% of plastic unaccounted for by conventional surveys.

An attempt to locate millions of tons of “missing” plastic in the world’s oceans has thrown up two locations that may contain enormous, previously unreported patches of debris.

Plastic has risen to the top of the environmental agenda after scientists sounded the alarm about the potential impact it as having on marine life.

Best estimates suggest 10 million tons of plastic are dumped in the sea every year. (…) (Theindependent, 13/09/2018)

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Sticky tape and simulations help assess microplastic risk

Tiny pieces of plastic, now ubiquitous in the marine environment, have long been a cause of concern for their ability to absorb toxic substances and potentially penetrate the food chain. Now scientists are beginning to understand the level of threat posed to life, by gauging the extent of marine accumulation and tracking the movement of these contaminants. (…)

N. Grover, Horizon EU magazine, 23/04/2018

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Microplastics ‘found in nearly all bottled water’ – study

Tests on some of the world’s leading brands of bottled water have found most contain tiny pieces of plastic.

Some 259 bottles from 11 brands in nine countries – Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Thailand, and the US – were examined in research conducted at the State University of New York.

The study found 93% of the samples showed signs of microplastics, with an average of 10 plastic particles per litre, each larger than the width of a human hair.

Polypropylene, often used to make plastic bottle caps, was found to be the most common material (54%) with nylon being the second most abundant (16%).

The World Health Organisation has said it will launch a review into the potential risks of tiny plastic particles in bottled water. (…) (news.sky.com, 15/03/2018)

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Conférence « Microplastiques : impacts, enjeux et comportements » jeudi 22 mars, Océanopolis (Brest)

Accès libre (20h30, Auditorium Marion Dufresne, Océanopolis, Brest)

Les microplastiques, une menace pour les organismes marins ?

Résumé : Les plastiques sont des matériaux persistants qui s’accumulent dans l’environnement marin et peuvent affecter les organismes marins. Les microplastiques sont généralement définis comme l’ensemble des particules de plastique inférieures à 1 mm. Ils sont composés de matériaux persistants, d’origine anthropique, qui s’accumule dans l’environnement marin. Ils proviennent notamment (origine primaire) d’abrasifs industriels, de la pré-production de pastilles plastiques, du rejet de fibres synthétiques issus de nos lessives ou sont les produits de dégradation (origine secondaire) des macro-déchets plastiques.

Ils contiennent des additifs potentiellement toxiques, mais sont aussi concentrateurs de contaminants organiques persistants ainsi que véhicules de microorganismes. Ils peuvent être ingérés par les organismes marins et ainsi entrer dans la chaine alimentaire.

Notre travail consiste à caractériser les niveaux de contamination dans le milieu marin, et notamment en rade de Brest, pour ensuite permettre des expositions en conditions de laboratoire à des doses et sous conditions environnementales afin d’estimer les impacts de particules de plastiques sur les organismes marins, information importante pour permettre de l’aide à la décision.

How plastics made from plants could be the answer to the world’s waste problem

(…) Using these platform molecules, the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence at the University of York, has been working with the plastics industry to create a new generation of bio-based polyesters. These are often used to make fibres for clothing, as well as films and containers for liquids and foods. The resulting materials are entirely plant based, recyclable and – importantly – fully biodegradable. (…) (Theconversation.com, James William Comerford, 23/02/2018)

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Gallatin Microplastics Initiative

The Gallatin River carries the mountains to the sea. It carries our communities and our livelihoods. It carries our stories and dreams. And this river also carries something more ominous in its waters: Our garbage.

In a pilot survey of five sites along the Gallatin River, microplastic particles were found in every sample, some in startlingly high numbers. With this knowledge, we launched the Gallatin Microplastics Initiative to study the abundance and types of microplastics in the Gallatin Watershed. This is an expansion of the Worldwide Microplastics Project.

​In each year of the Gallatin Microplastics Initiative, 60+ volunteers will return four times to their assigned sites on the main Gallatin and its tributaries, gathering an in-depth picture of plastic pollution from 70 sites in the watershed. This information will help us understand the extent of the problem and how to resolve it.

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