Characterizing microplastic hazards: which concentration metrics and particle characteristics are most informative for understanding toxicity in aquatic organisms?

Thornton Hampton, LM; Brander, SM; Coffin, S; Cole, MJ; Hermabessiere, L; Koelmans, AA; Rochman, CM. 2022 Characterizing microplastic hazards: which concentration metrics and particle characteristics are most informative for understanding toxicity in aquatic organisms?. Microplastics and Nanoplastics, 2 (1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s43591-022-00040-4

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s43591-022-00040-4

Abstract/Summary

There is definitive evidence that microplastics, defined as plastic particles less than 5 mm in size, are ubiquitous in the environment and can cause harm to aquatic organisms. These findings have prompted legislators and environmental regulators to seek out strategies for managing risk. However, microplastics are also an incredibly diverse contaminant suite, comprising a complex mixture of physical and chemical characteristics (e.g., sizes, morphologies, polymer types, chemical additives, sorbed chemicals, and impurities), making it challenging to identify which particle characteristics might influence the associated hazards to aquatic life. In addition, there is a lack of consensus on how microplastic concentrations should be reported. This not only makes it difficult to compare concentrations across studies, but it also begs the question as to which concentration metric may be most informative for hazard characterization. Thus, an international panel of experts was convened to identify 1) which concentration metrics (e.g., mass or count per unit of volume or mass) are most informative for the development of health-based thresholds and risk assessment and 2) which microplastic characteristics best inform toxicological concerns. Based on existing knowledge, it is recommended that microplastic concentrations in toxicity tests are calculated from both mass and count at minimum, though ideally researchers should report additional metrics, such as volume and surface area, which may be more informative for specific toxicity mechanisms. Regarding particle characteristics, there is sufficient evidence to conclude that particle size is a critical determinant of toxicological outcomes, particularly for the mechanisms of food dilution and tissue translocation.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Additional Keywords: Microplastic, Nanoplastic, Aquatic organisms, Toxicity, Particle size, Food dilution, Tissue translocation
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Marine Ecology and Biodiversity
Depositing User: S Hawkins
Date made live: 18 Aug 2022 09:03
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2022 09:03
URI: https://plymsea.ac.uk/id/eprint/9780

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