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Occurrence, partitioning, toxicity and degradation to cigarette butts in coastal areas

Grant number: 19/13750-4
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: October 01, 2019 - September 30, 2021
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Oceanography - Chemical Oceanography
Principal Investigator:Ítalo Braga de Castro
Grantee:Ítalo Braga de Castro
Home Institution: Instituto de Saúde e Sociedade (ISS). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus Baixada Santista. Santos , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):19/22561-0 - Technical training on occurrence, partitioning, toxicity and degradation of cigarette butts in coastal areas, BP.TT


Coastal ecosystems have served as reservoirs for several contaminants and residues, creating challenges for sustainable development and environmental management. In this context, the pollution caused by marine litter has been raising concern among managers and scientists. These residues are defined as any type of manufactured solid material discarded in marine environments, resulting from human activities. Recent studies have shown that cigarette butts are among the most frequently items found in coastal clean-up campaigns conducted around the world. In Santos (SP), the scenario is not different, since, preliminary studies conducted to elaborate the present proposal, showed that 51% of marine litter consists of cigarette butts (CB). Although the risks to human health associated with smoking are well known, little is known about the effects of more than 7000 compounds that can be leached from the butts to aquatic ecosystems. In that sense, studies have revealed that the chemicals present in cigarette butts can be environmentally toxic. However, no studies evaluated the partitioning dynamics of these wastes in coastal areas. Therefore, the residence times of these residues in different environmental compartments (water column and sediments) are still unknown. Further, information on toxicity over time, degradation and microbiota associated with CB in natural environment have not been investigated so far. Therefore, the present study aims to evaluate, through a citizen science initiative, the environmental occurrence of these wastes on beaches in the cities of Santos and São Vicente. In addition, this proposal will investigate preferential partitioning and the toxicity of such residues in water column and sediments in order to allow the design of experiments that adequately simulate the exposure of test organisms. Further, the influence of degradation and aging processes on the sorghum balance of contaminants and their associated toxicity will be evaluated through laboratory and field experiments. In this context, possible alterations in microbial diversity and its relationship with chemical alterations of buttocks will be investigated. For the implementation of this proposal, it is expected to broaden the understanding of the impacts associated with the presence of this important waste in coastal zones. (AU)