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Plasticisers in the terrestrial environment: sources, occurrence and fate

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/09/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Environmental Chemistry
Issue number3
Volume18
Number of pages20
Pages (from-to)111-130
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date30/07/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Modern society is widely dependent upon plastic. Therefore, it is unsurprising that macro- and microplastic pollution is found in every environmental compartment on earth. Plasticisers are chemicals added to plastics to increase their flexibility. Like plastics themselves, plasticisers are also widely present in the environment. Plasticisers and plastic debris may undergo long-range transport in the atmosphere and the oceans, contaminating even the most remote areas of land. In addition, although plasticisers typically degrade in a matter of weeks–months, they can persist in soil for decades and have been shown to occur in all land uses studied. Some plasticisers are genotoxic and can be taken up by soil organisms, which may pose a risk to ecosystems and human health. To date the majority of data on plasticisers exists for phthalates. However, plasticisers are a diverse range of chemicals and with the increasing transfer to non-phthalate alternatives, research into the fate and effects of emerging plasticisers is required to determine their environmental risk and management options. Data on the occurrence and ecotoxicity of emerging plasticisers, in addition to the impacts of all plasticisers on terrestrial ecosystems, therefore, remain a key research need within the wider plastics debate.