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Microplastics in Marine and Freshwater Environments

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Science and Engineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2021) | Viewed by 37858

Special Issue Editor

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Guest Editor
CRETUS Institute & Faculty of Biology (Ecology Unit), Campus Vida, University of Santiago de Compostela, 15782 Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Interests: environmental monitoring; biomonitors; heavy metals; hydrocarbons; air pollution; water pollution

Special Issue Information

Microplastics are synthetic polymer particles less than 5 mm in diameter that can originate from both primary (i.e., textiles, plastic production, personal care products, etc.) and secondary sources (derived from the breakdown of larger plastic debris, i.e., plastic vessels, nets, films, tires, etc.). Primary microplastics are commonly found in domestic and industrial wastewater and then can reach rivers and finally coastal areas, but the main sources of pollution in aquatic environments are usually secondary microplastics.

The physical characteristics of these pollutants (i.e., small size and large specific surface area) make them bioavailable to aquatic organisms and may therefore produce toxic effects. In very recent years, different laboratory and field experiences have confirmed that: i) aquatic organisms ingest and uptake these materials; ii) microplastics are accumulated and the chemicals they contain induce adverse effects; iii) they interact with the toxic effects of other environmental pollutants and stressors; and iv) there is trophic transfer of these pollutants and the chemicals associated with them. The existence of trophic transfer means that microplastics, once accumulated into aquatic organisms, can end up in top predators at the food chains (including humans as final consumers of many of them). These findings raise concerns regarding biomagnification of these pollutants, increasing the risks and toxic effects associated to this process. In addition, in aquatic ecosystems, microplastics have been detected also in surface waters and sediments.

For this Special Issue of IJERPH, we are looking for research articles on different aspects of microplastic pollution, including uptake quantification in organisms, water and sediment levels, toxicity assessment, etc. We welcome research papers as well as reviews and meta-analysis.

Dr. José Ángel Fernández
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

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Published Papers (1 paper)

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15 pages, 2157 KiB  
Degradation of Polyvinyl Alcohol in US Wastewater Treatment Plants and Subsequent Nationwide Emission Estimate
by Charles Rolsky and Varun Kelkar
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(11), 6027; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18116027 - 03 Jun 2021
Cited by 28 | Viewed by 37308
Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) is a water-soluble plastic commercially used in laundry and dish detergent pods (LDPs) for which a complete understanding of its fate in the environment and subsequent consequences is lacking. The objective of this study was to estimate the US nationwide [...] Read more.
Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) is a water-soluble plastic commercially used in laundry and dish detergent pods (LDPs) for which a complete understanding of its fate in the environment and subsequent consequences is lacking. The objective of this study was to estimate the US nationwide emissions of PVA resulting from domestic use of LDPs, corroborated by a nationwide, online consumer survey and a literature review of its fate within conventional wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). Peer-reviewed publications focusing on the degradation of PVA in critical processes of WWTPs were shortlisted as a part of the literature review, and subsequent degradation data was extracted and applied to a model with a set of assumptions. Survey and model results estimated that approximately 17,200 ± 5000 metric ton units per year (mtu/yr) of PVA are used from LDPs in the US, with 10,500 ± 3000 mtu/yr reaching WWTPs. Literature review data, when incorporated into our model, resulted in ~61% of PVA ending up in the environment via the sludge route and ~15.7% via the aqueous phase. PVA presence in the environment, regardless of its matrix, is a threat to the ecosystem due to the potential mobilization of heavy metals and other hydrophilic contaminants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microplastics in Marine and Freshwater Environments)
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