Understanding plasticiser leaching from polystyrene microplastics

Gulizia, Alexandra M., Patel, Kishan, Philippa, Bronson, Motti, Cherie A., van Herwerden, Lynne, and Vamvounis, George (2023) Understanding plasticiser leaching from polystyrene microplastics. Science of the Total Environment, 857. 159099.

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Abstract

Plastic pollution in our oceans is of growing concern particularly due to the presence of toxic additives, such as plasticisers. Therefore, this work aims to develop a comprehensive understanding of the leaching properties of plasticisers from microplastics. This work investigates the leaching of phthalate acid ester (dioctyl terephthalate (DEHT) and diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP)) and diphenol (bisphenol A (BPA) and bisphenol S (BPS)) plasticisers from polystyrene (PS) microplastics (mean diameter = 136 μm to 1.4 mm) under controlled aqueous conditions (temperature, agitation, pH and salinity). The leaching behaviours of plasticised polymers were quantified using gel permeation chromatography, high performance liquid chromatography and thermal gravimetric analysis, and the particle's plasticisation characterised using differential scanning calorimetry. Leaching rates of phthalate acid ester and diphenol plasticisers were modelled using a diffusion and boundary layer model, whereby these behaviours varied depending on their plasticisation efficiency of PS, the size of the microplastic particle and the surrounding abiotic conditions. Leaching behaviours of DEHT and DEHP were strongly influenced by the microplastic-surface water boundary layer properties, thus wave action (i.e., water agitation) increased the leaching rate of these plasticiser up to 66 over 21-days, whereas BPA and BPS plasticisers displayed temperature- and size-dependent leaching and were limited by molecular diffusion throughout the bulk polymer (i.e., the microplastic). This information will improve predictions of plasticiser concentration (both that remain in the plastic and released into the surrounding water) at specific time points during the lifetime of a plastic, ultimately ensuring greater accuracy in the assessment of toxicity responses and environmental water quality.

Item ID: 76625
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-1026
Keywords: Microplastics, Plasticiser leaching, Diffusion model, Boundary layer
Copyright Information: © 2022 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2022 23:00
FoR Codes: 34 CHEMICAL SCIENCES > 3403 Macromolecular and materials chemistry > 340399 Macromolecular and materials chemistry not elsewhere classified @ 50%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4105 Pollution and contamination > 410599 Pollution and contamination not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180599 Marine systems and management not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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