A qualitative screening and quantitative measurement of organic contaminants on different types of marine plastic debris

Chemosphere. 2015 Nov;138:348-56. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2015.06.029. Epub 2015 Jun 27.


Chemical compounds present on plastic were characterised on different types of plastic litter and beached pellets, using a general GC-MS screening method. A variety of plastic related compounds, such as building blocks, antioxidants, additives and degradation products, were identified next to diverse environmental pollutants and biofilm compounds. A validated method for the analysis of PAHs and PCBs on beached pellets at the Belgian Coast, showed concentrations of ∑ 16 EPA-PAHs of 1076-3007 ng g(-1) plastic, while the concentrations of ∑ 7 OSPAR-PCBs ranged from 31 to 236 ng g(-1) plastic. The wide variety of plastic compounds retrieved in the general screening showed the importance of plastic as a potential source of contaminants and their degradation products.

Keywords: Beached pellet; Contaminant screening; PAH; PCB; Plastic litter.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bathing Beaches
  • Belgium
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Plastics / chemistry*
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / analysis*
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / analysis*
  • Waste Products / analysis*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*


  • Plastics
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • Waste Products
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls