Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Microplastics -- Environmental aspects, Microplastics -- Analysis, Plastic scrap -- Management, Waste minimization -- Sustainability
Although there are not any direct studies linking persistent organic pollutants (POPs) accumulated on marine debris to human health, there are numerous studies showing human health impacts from repeated and high level POP exposure, as well as studies that show POPs accumulate on plastic debris in the marine environment. With this knowledge, there is a need for greater awareness of the risks of POP exposure for those who handle marine debris regularly, especially in contexts of higher exposure such as those working in marine debris concentrated areas. Amongst the scientific community, understanding of the exposure risk might be high, but others who handle marine debris, for instance citizens groups in the global south, are not necessarily aware of this exposure pathway. Moreover, global consumers who are marketed ‘ocean plastics’ upcycled products are also not aware of potential POP exposure. Before marine plastics are accepted into the upcycled economy, these risks warrant further examination. This is a perspectives piece that aims to draw awareness to these emergent POP exposure pathways and considerations regarding marine plastic pollution.
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Conlon, K. (2021), Marine Debris and Human Health: An Exposure Pathway of POPs?. Environ Toxicol Chem. Accepted Author Manuscript. https://doi.org/10.1002/etc.5186