Microplastics and Organic Toxins in the Antarctic

  • Author: Marek Czykanski
  • Published: 10 June 2018
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA
  • Source / Publisher: Greenpeace International
thumbnail image: Microplastics and Organic Toxins in the Antarctic

In early 2018, Greenpeace researchers sampled seawater and snow along the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula using the "Arctic Sunrise" research vessel. All samples were examined for microplastics and for per- and polyfluorinated chemicals (PFCs).


Seven of the nine snow samples contained detectable concentrations of PFCs. These fluorine-containing chemicals, also known as perfluorinated and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS), are used, among other things, for functional clothing, but are also used in other consumer goods. The scientists suspect that the chemicals have reached the Antarctic via the air.


The most commonly detected PFC in the Antarctic snow was perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). This environmental toxin, which has been identified as a carcinogen, was detected in five out of nine snow samples in concentrations of up to 1.84 ng/L. These values are higher than those found in the snow of the Alps or in Sweden.


Seven of the eight seawater samples tested contained at least one microplastic fiber. The concentration ranged from 0.8 to 5.6 fibers per liter. Among the types of plastic were polyester and nylon, but also acetate, polypropylene, and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). This is in spite of the fact that the so-called Antarctic Circumpolar Current separates the waters of the Southern Ocean from the World Oceans. That microplastic has found its way through this natural barrier is worrying.


 

Article Views: 833

Sign in Area

Please sign in below

Additional Sign In options

Please note that to comment on an article you must be registered and logged in.
Registration is for free, you may already be registered to receive, e.g., the newsletter. When you register on this website, please ensure you view our terms and conditions. All comments are subject to moderation.

Article Comments - To add a comment please sign in

Bookmark and Share

If you would like to reuse any content, in print or online, from ChemistryViews.org, please contact us first for permission. more


CONNECT:

ChemistryViews.org on Facebook

ChemistryViews.org on Twitter ChemistryViews.org on YouTube ChemistryViews.org on LinkedIn Sign up for our free newsletter


A product of ChemPubSoc Europe (16 European Chemical Societies)and Wiley-VCH