7 Comments



  1. E. J. Pole II

    Plastics absorb toxic chemicals. Do they then release these chemicals when ingested? What is the data on that?

    Reply
      1. E. J. Pole II

        Dr. Bogomolova, thank you for your reply. If you don’t mind a follow-up, I would appreciate it. The subject paper indicated that plastics absorbed toxic chemicals when placed in sea water. It went on to speculate that these toxins would then poison fauna when ingested. I’ wondering if there are any studies indicating that these plastics would release these toxins when passing through the digestive tract. If they don’t, it seems to me that plastics then would provide a beneficial service by cleaning the environment of these toxins and trapping them. A link to any papers on this would be most appreciated. Thank you.

        Reply
      2. Cessely

        Dr. Bogomolova and E.J.,

        There is evidence that absorbed toxicants can leach out of the plastics and into organisms:
        Besseling, E., et al., 2013. Effects of Microplastic on Fitness and PCB Bioaccumulation by the Lugworm Arenicola marina (L.). Environmental Science & Technology. 47, 593-600.
        Mato, Y., et al., 2001. Plastic resin pellets as a transport medium for toxic chemicals in the marine environment. Environmental Science & Technology. 35, 318-324.

        Reply
        1. E. J. Pole II

          It is annoying that my “credentials” don’t authorize me for a full text view. One would think that a .gov site wouldn’t require such a thing. Anyway, what I did see is that the plastic pellets absorbed the toxins to the same concentration as in the environment. So, is the level of toxins in the lugworms(?) due to ingestion of the pellets or due to the ubiquitous presence of the toxins in the environment? One would have to eliminate the toxins in the environment to verify that the pellets are the transport mechanism. Also, the effect of the toxins doesn’t seem to be substantial anyway.

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