Ingested plastic transfers hazardous chemicals to fish and induces hepatic stress

Sci Rep. 2013 Nov 21;3:3263. doi: 10.1038/srep03263.

Abstract

Plastic debris litters aquatic habitats globally, the majority of which is microscopic (< 1 mm), and is ingested by a large range of species. Risks associated with such small fragments come from the material itself and from chemical pollutants that sorb to it from surrounding water. Hazards associated with the complex mixture of plastic and accumulated pollutants are largely unknown. Here, we show that fish, exposed to a mixture of polyethylene with chemical pollutants sorbed from the marine environment, bioaccumulate these chemical pollutants and suffer liver toxicity and pathology. Fish fed virgin polyethylene fragments also show signs of stress, although less severe than fish fed marine polyethylene fragments. We provide baseline information regarding the bioaccumulation of chemicals and associated health effects from plastic ingestion in fish and demonstrate that future assessments should consider the complex mixture of the plastic material and their associated chemical pollutants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1 / genetics
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1 / metabolism
  • Ecosystem
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Halogenated Diphenyl Ethers / chemistry
  • Halogenated Diphenyl Ethers / toxicity
  • Hazardous Substances / chemistry
  • Hazardous Substances / toxicity*
  • Liver / drug effects*
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver / pathology
  • Oryzias / metabolism
  • Plastics / chemistry
  • Plastics / toxicity*
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / chemistry
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / toxicity
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / chemistry
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / toxicity
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / chemistry
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / toxicity*

Substances

  • Halogenated Diphenyl Ethers
  • Hazardous Substances
  • Plastics
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1