Regional distribution of styrene analogues generated from polystyrene degradation along the coastlines of the North-East Pacific Ocean and Hawaii

Environ Pollut. 2014 May:188:45-9. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2014.01.019. Epub 2014 Feb 16.


Beach sand and seawater taken from the coastlines of the North-East Pacific Ocean and Hawaii State were investigated to determine the causes of global chemical contamination from polystyrene (PS). All samples were found to contain styrene monomer (SM), styrene dimers (SD), and styrene trimers (ST) with a concentration distribution of styrene analogues in the order of ST > SD > SM. The contamination by styrene analogues along the West Coast proved more severe than in Alaska and other regions. The Western Coastlines of the USA seem be affected by both land- and ocean-based pollution sources, which might result from it being a heavily populated area as the data suggest a possible proportional relationship between PS pollution and population. Our results suggest the presence of new global chemical contaminants derived from PS in the ocean, and along coasts.

Keywords: Global ocean pollution; Plastics; Polystyrene; Styrene analogues; Styrene oligomers.

MeSH terms

  • Alaska
  • Environmental Monitoring*
  • Hawaii
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Polystyrenes / analysis*
  • Polystyrenes / chemistry
  • Seawater / chemistry
  • Styrene / analysis*
  • Styrene / chemistry
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / chemistry


  • Polystyrenes
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Styrene