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RISK ASSESSMENT OF WEATHEREED MICRO/NANOPLASTICS AND ASSOCIATED ADDITIVES AND ORGANIC CO-CONTAMINANTS

Abstract

The increasing applications of plastics in various fields such as healthcare, packaging, building and construction, textiles, consumer products, transportation, electrical and electronics etc. has resulted in elevated levels of plastic wastes in the environments majorly in the landfills. The plastic polymers could be further fragmented into smaller micro- and even nano-sized plastics known as micro-nanoplastics (MNPs), which are more reactive and toxic to biological systems compared to their bulk counterparts. The additives such as bisphenol A, phthalates, flame retardants etc. are often added to plastic products during manufacturing processes in order to improve and preserve the polymer properties. These plastic additives are weakly bonded to the plastics, and can be easily leached into the environments during weathering thereby resulting in their being detected in various environmental matrices, thus contributing to the toxic effects of MNPs. Similarly, MNPs often co-occur with other contaminants especially organic contaminants which could elicit complex interactions in biological systems which may either be synergistic or antagonistic in nature. MNPs are widely distributed in various environmental matrices such as air, surface water, sediments, and soils, as such the potential of humans interacting with them is quite high. Hence, the need for risk assessments of plastics on human health becomes imperative. Although, some studies have looked at the toxic effects of MNPs on mammalian cells, such studies focused on virgin plastics notwithstanding that aging/weathering modulates the toxicity of MNPs. Also, the effects of polymer additives and co-contaminants on the toxicity of MNPs are yet to be fully elucidated. Therefore, the present study was aimed at doing a proper risk characterization of naturally aged/weathered MNPs using various cell-based toxicological assays as well as in vivo toxicity tests with C. elegans, a model toxicology organism. It is anticipated that the study would provide information that would help policy makers and manufacturers on the usage of less toxic and more environment-friendly components as additives, and to guide the consumers on the need for proper disposal of plastic wastes in the environments. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
ADEYEMI, JOSEPH A.; CRUZ, JONAS C.; AYO-AWE, TOLULOPE, V; ROCHA, BRUNO A.; ADEDIRE, CHRIS O.; DE OLIVEIRA-SOUZA, VANESSA C.; OLIVEIRA SOUZA, MARILIA CRISTINA; DOMINGO, JOSE L.; BARBOSA JR, FERNANDO. Occurrence of trace elements in print paper products: Non-carcinogenic risk assessment through dermal exposure. Environmental Research, v. 237, p. 5-pg., . (18/24069-3, 22/09989-4)

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