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Microplastic fibres from synthetic textiles: Environmental degradation and additive chemical content

Abstract

Microplastic fibres (MPFs) often make up the largest fraction of microplastic pollution in aquatic environments, yet little is known about their degradative fate and persistence. This study investigates the environmentally relevant photodegradation of common MPFs: polyester (PET), polyamide (PA) and polyacrylonitrile (PAN), their respective additive chemical profile, together with their potential for additive leaching. MPFs were subject to ultraviolet (UV) exposure in seawater and freshwater media over 10 months. PET and PA MPFs showed significant fragmentation and surface changes following UV exposure, additionally PA showed evidence of chemical changes. PAN did not undergo significant photodegradation in the same exposure period. Chemicals tentatively identified in MPFs and aqueous leachates via non-target gas chromatography-mass spectrometry include monomers, UV stabilisers and degradation products. Characterisation of several bisphenols (BPs) and benzophenones (BzPs) was performed via ultraperformance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. Bisphenol A, bisphenol S and benzophenone-3 were quantified in all MPFs and wool at concentrations between 4.3 - 501 ng/g, with wool displaying the highest sum concentration of BPs and BzPs at 863 and 27 ng/g, respectively.

Category

Academic article

Client

  • Research Council of Norway (RCN) / 268404

Language

English

Author(s)

Affiliation

  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • SINTEF Ocean / Climate and Environment
  • SINTEF Industry / Materials and Nanotechnology

Year

2021

Published in

Environmental Pollution

ISSN

1566-0745

Publisher

Springer

Volume

268

Issue

Part B

Page(s)

1 - 10

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