2017 - 86(4)

Title: 
Microplastics: minuscule particles with big consequences?
Author(s): 
S. KNOLL, A. DECOSTERE, A.M. DECLERCQ
Abstract: 

Since the mass production of plastics, contamination of the marine environment with thesepersistent synthetic materials has become an ever-increasing problem. Lately, it has become clear thatmicroplastics play a big part in this. These small plastic particles (< 5mm) are ubiquitous in seawaterand sediments. There are various entryways, such as fragmentation of macroplastics and drainage ofprimary microplastic via wastewater. Recent studies have shown that microplastics may be ingested bynumerous marine organisms. This could result in diverse health effects, including mechanical injuryand cellular toxicity. Adverse effects of microplastics are possibly enhanced by the contamination ofthese plastic particles with toxic chemicals. Furthermore, microplastics and microplastic contaminantscould accumulate in the food chain, eventually affecting humans. Despite the growing number ofpublications on microplastics, there are still many unanswered questions regarding this topic. In thisarticle, the contemporary knowledge of microplastics in the marine environment is provided.

Full text: 
pp 203-212
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