Leaching of Plastic Additives to Marine Organisms

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It is often assumed that ingestion of microplastics by aquatic species leads to increased exposure to plastic additives. However, experimental data or model based evidence is lacking. Here we assess the potential of leaching of nonylphenol (NP) and bisphenol A (BPA) in the intestinal tracts of Arenicola marina (lugworm) and Gadus morhua North Sea cod.). We use a biodynamic model that allows calculations of the relative contribution of plastic ingestion to total exposure of aquatic species to chemicals residing in the ingested plastic. Uncertainty in the most crucial parameters is accounted for by probabilistic modelling. Our conservative analysis shows that plastic ingestion by the lugworm yields NP and BPA concentrations that stay below the lower ends of global NP and BPA concentration ranges, and therefore are not likely to constitute a relelvant exposure pathway. For cod, plastic ingestion appears to be a negligible pathway for exposure to NP and BPA.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-54
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • bisphenol-a
  • environment
  • water
  • bioaccumulation
  • wildlife
  • pellets
  • fish
  • microplastics
  • accumulation
  • contaminants


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