Plastic additives: challenges in ecotox hazard assessment


The risk of plastic debris, and specifically micro(nano)plastic particles, to ecosystems remains to be fully characterized. One particular issue that warrants further characterization is the hazards associated with chemical additives within micro(nano)plastic as they are not chemically bound within the polymers and can be persistent and biologically active. Most plastics contain additives and are therefore potential vectors for the introduction of these chemicals into the environment as they leach from plastic, a process that can be accelerated through degradation and weathering processes. There are knowledge gaps on the ecotoxicological effects of plastic additives and how they are released from parent plastic materials as they progressively fragment from the meso to micro and nano scale. This review summarizes the current state of knowledge of the ecotoxicity of plastic additives and identifies research needs to characterize the hazard they present to exposed biota. The potential ecological risk of chemical additives is of international concern so key differences in governance between the European Union and New Zealand to appropriately characterize their risk are highlighted.

Authors: Andrew Barrick, Olivier Champeau, Amélie Chatel, Nicolas Manier, Grant Northcott, Louis A Tremblay
; Full Source: PeerJ 2021 Apr 16;9:e11300. doi: 10.7717/peerj.11300.