Occurrence and effects of plastic additives on marine environments and organisms: A review

Chemosphere. 2017 Sep;182:781-793. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2017.05.096. Epub 2017 May 16.

Abstract

Plastics debris, especially microplastics, have been found worldwide in all marine compartments. Much research has been carried out on adsorbed pollutants on plastic pieces and hydrophobic organic compounds (HOC) associated with microplastics. However, only a few studies have focused on plastic additives. These chemicals are incorporated into plastics from which they can leach out as most of them are not chemically bound. As a consequence of plastic accumulation and fragmentation in oceans, plastic additives could represent an increasing ecotoxicological risk for marine organisms. The present work reviewed the main class of plastic additives identified in the literature, their occurrence in the marine environment, as well as their effects on and transfers to marine organisms. This work identified polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE), phthalates, nonylphenols (NP), bisphenol A (BPA) and antioxidants as the most common plastic additives found in marine environments. Moreover, transfer of these plastic additives to marine organisms has been demonstrated both in laboratory and field studies. Upcoming research focusing on the toxicity of microplastics should include these plastic additives as potential hazards for marine organisms, and a greater focus on the transport and fate of plastic additives is now required considering that these chemicals may easily leach out from plastics.

Keywords: Bisphenol A; Brominated flame retardant; Microplastics; Phthalates; Plastic additives.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aquatic Organisms / drug effects*
  • Ecotoxicology
  • Oceans and Seas
  • Plastics / chemistry*
  • Seawater / chemistry*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / chemistry*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / toxicity*

Substances

  • Plastics
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical