Microplastics are polluting Lake Winnebago’s fish

A new study is raising concerns about the safety of eating fish from Lake Winnebago.

The research reveals tiny pieces of plastic are skirting the wastewater treatment process to end up in the lake, where they can soak up toxins and are likely being consumed by fish.

Experts say there’s a potential danger that those toxins could be passed on to people who consume fish from the lake.

“It’s definitely a concern,” said Kelly Reyer, outreach coordinator for the Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance. “It can go through the food chain and potentially harm the ecosystem as well as public health because of people consuming the fish.”

Plastic microbeads had previously been found in the Great Lakes, prompting state legislation to phase out products that contain them, but experts didn’t know whether they were in Lake Winnebago or other inland waters. (…) (usatoday.com, 10/07/2017)

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Polybrominated diphenyl ethers in plastic products, indoor dust, sediment and fish from informal e-waste recycling sites in Vietnam: a comprehensive assessment of contamination, accumulation pattern, emissions, and human exposure

Residue concentrations of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in different kinds of samples including consumer products, indoor dust, sediment and fish collected from two e-waste recycling sites, and some industrial, urban and suburban areas in Vietnam were determined to provide a comprehensive assessment of the contamination levels, accumulation pattern, emission potential and human exposure through dust ingestion and fish consumption. There was a large variation of PBDE levels in plastic parts of obsolete electronic equipment (from 1730 to 97,300 ng/g), which is a common result observed in consumer plastic products reported elsewhere. PBDE levels in indoor dust samples collected from e-waste recycling sites ranged from 250 to 8740 ng/g, which were markedly higher than those in industrial areas and household offices. Emission rate of PBDEs from plastic parts of disposed electronic equipment to dust was estimated to be in a range from 3.4 × 10−7 to 1.2 × 10−5 (year−1) for total PBDEs and from 2.9 × 10−7 to 7.2 × 10−6 (year−1) for BDE-209. Some fish species collected from ponds in e-waste recycling villages contained elevated levels of PBDEs, especially BDE-209, which were markedly higher than those in fish previously reported. Overall, levels and patterns of PBDE accumulation in different kinds of samples suggest significant emission from e-waste sites and that these areas are potential sources of PBDE contamination. Intakes of PBDEs via fish consumption were generally higher than those estimated through dust ingestion. Intake of BDE-99 and BDE-209 through dust ingestion contributes a large proportion due to higher concentrations in dust and fish. Body weight normalized daily intake through dust ingestion estimated for the e-waste recycling sites (0.10–3.46 ng/day/kg body wt.) were in a high range as compared to those reported in other countries. Our results highlight the potential releases of PBDEs from informal recycling activities and the high degree of human exposure and suggest the need for continuous investigations on environmental pollution and toxic impacts of e-waste-related hazardous chemicals.

Hoang Quoc Anh, Vu Duc Nam, Tran Manh Tri, Nguyen Manh Ha, Nguyen Thuy Ngoc, Pham Thi Ngoc Mai, Duong Hong Anh, Nguyen Hung Minh, Nguyen Anh Tuan, Tu Binh Minh, Environmental Geochemistry and Health, August 2017, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 935–954

The article

Foraging preferences influence microplastic ingestion by six marine fish species from the Texas Gulf Coast

This study evaluated the influence of foraging preferences on microplastic ingestion by six marine fish species from the Texas Gulf Coast. A total of 1381 fish were analyzed and 42.4% contained ingested microplastic, inclusive of fiber (86.4%), microbead (12.9% %), and fragment (< 1.0%) forms. Despite a substantial overlap in diet, ordination of ingested prey items clustered samples into distinctive species groupings, reflective of the foraging gradient among species. Orthopristis chrysoptera displayed the lowest overall frequency of microplastic ingestion and the most distinctive ordination grouping, indicating their selective invertebrate foraging preferences. Cluster analysis of O. chrysoptera most closely classified microplastic with the ingestion of benthic invertebrates, whereas the ingestion of microplastic by all other species most closely classified with the ingestion of vegetation and shrimp. O. chrysoptera, as selective invertebrate foragers, are less likely to ingest microplastics than species exhibiting generalist foraging preferences and methods of prey capture.

Colleen A. Peters, Peyton A. Thomas, Kaitlyn B. Rieper, Susan P. Bratton, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Available online 11 July 2017, In Press

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Effects of dietary polyvinylchloride microparticles on general health, immune status and expression of several genes related to stress in gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata L.)

It is a long-recognized fact that marine plastic debris contaminates the oceans and seas of the entire world. Even though their effects on the aquatic biota are not well documented or understood. The effects of dietary polyvinylchloride microparticles (PVC-MPs) on the general health, immune status and some stress markers were studied using gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata) as a model of marine fish. Thirty specimens were randomly placed in three running sea water aquaria and fish in each aquarium received an experimental diet containing 0 (control), 100 or 500 mg kg−1 of PVC-MPs for 30 days. Metabolic parameters in serum indicated that the dietary intake of PVC-MPs negatively affected several vital organs. Humoral immune parameters were determined in serum and skin mucus. Cellular immune parameters were determined in head-kidney leucocytes. Concomitantly, the expression of different genes related to stress was studied in head-kidney and liver. Regarding head-kidney gene expression, prdx5 was significantly decreased by PVC-MPs intake for 15 and 30 days, respect to the values found in control fish. On the other hand, the expression of prdx1 and prdx3 were significantly increased by the PVC-MPs intake during 15 and 30 days, compared with the values found in control fish. Furthermore, the expression of hsp90 and ucp1 genes decreased and increased, respectively, in the liver of fish fed 500 mg kg−1 of PVC-MPs for 30 days. Although ingestion of PVC-MPs provoked few significant effects (mostly increases) in the main immune activities of gilthead seabream compared with the values found in control fish, PVC-MPs are recognized by the fish as stressors. Continued exposure of fish to high concentrations of PVC-MPs could have a negative impact on fish physiology due to the chronic stress produced.

Cristóbal Espinosa, Alberto Cuesta, María Ángeles Esteban, Fish & Shellfish Immunology, Available online 3 July 2017, In Press

The article

Screening for microplastics in sediment, water, marine invertebrates and fish: Method development and microplastic accumulation

Measurements of microplastics in biota and abiotic matrices are key elements of exposure and risk assessments for this emerging environmental pollutant. We investigated the abundance of microplastics in field-collected biota, sediment and water. An improved sediment extraction method, based on density separation was developed. For analysis of microplastics in biota we found that an adapted enzymatic digestion protocol using proteinase K performed best, with a 97% recovery of spiked plastic particles and no observed degradation effects on the plastics in subsequent Raman analysis. Field analysis revealed that 8 of 9 tested invertebrate species from the North Sea and 68% of analyzed individuals of brown trout (Salmo trutta) from the Swedish West Coast had microplastics in them. Based on the number of plastic particles per kg d.w. the microplastic concentrations found in mussels were approximately a thousand-fold higher compared to those in sediment and surface water samples from the same location.

Therese M. Karlsson, A. Dick Vethaak, Bethanie Carney Almroth, Freek Ariese, Martin van Velzen, Martin Hassellöv, Heather A. Leslie, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Available online 6 July 2017, In Press

The article

The uptake of macroplastic & microplastic by demersal & pelagic fish in the Northeast Atlantic around Scotland

This study reports plastic ingestion in various fish found from coastal and offshore sites in Scottish marine waters. Coastal samples consisted of three demersal flatfish species (n = 128) collected from the East and West coasts of Scotland. Offshore samples consisted of 5 pelagic species and 4 demersal species (n = 84) collected from the Northeast Atlantic. From the coastal fish sampled, 47.7% of the gastrointestinal tracts contained macroplastic and microplastic. Of the 84 pelagic and demersal offshore fish, only 2 (2.4%) individuals from different species had ingested plastic identified as a clear polystyrene fibre and a black polyamide fibre. The average number of plastic items found per fish from all locations that had ingested plastic was 1.8 (± 1.7) with polyamide (65.3%), polyethylene terephthalate (14.4%) and acrylic (14.4%) being the three most commonly found plastics. This study adds to the existing data on macroplastic and microplastic ingestion in fish species.

Fionn Murphy, Marie Russell, Ciaran Ewins, Brian Quinn, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Available online 10 July 2017, In Press

The article

SEM/EDS and optical microscopy analyses of microplastics in ocean trawl and fish guts

Microplastic particles from Atlantic and Pacific Ocean trawls, lab-fed fish guts and ocean fish guts have been characterized using optical microscopy and SEM/EDS in terms of size, morphology, and chemistry. We assessed whether these measurements could serve as a rapid screening process for subsequent identification of the likely microplastic candidates by micro-spectroscopy. Optical microscopy enabled morphological classification of the types of particles or fibers present in the sample, as well as the quantification of particle size ranges and fiber lengths. SEM/EDS analysis was used to rule out non-plastic particles and screen the prepared samples for potential microplastic, based on their element signatures and surface characteristics. Chlorinated plastics such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) could be easily identified with SEM/EDS due to their unique elemental signatures including chlorine, as could mineral species that are falsely identified as plastics by optical microscopy. Particle morphology determined by optical microscopy and SEM suggests the fish ingested particles contained both degradation fragments from larger plastic pieces and also manufactured microplastics. SEM images of microplastic particle surfaces revealed characteristic cracks consistent with environmental exposure, as well as pigment particles consistent with manufactured materials. Most of the microplastic surfaces in the fish guts and ocean trawls were covered with biofilms, radiolarians, and crustaceans. Many of the fish stomachs contained micro-shell pieces which visually resembled microplastics.

Zhong-Min Wang, Jeff Wagner, Sutapa Ghosal, Gagandeep Bedi, Stephen Wall, Science of The Total Environment, Volumes 603–604, 15 December 2017, Pages 616–626

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