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Microplastics – News and Features

A forest canopy below a blue sky.

Forests Can Trap Airborne Plastics

A research group has found that airborne microplastics adsorb to the epicuticular wax on the surface of forest canopy leaves and that forests may act as terrestrial sinks for airborne microplastics.
An archeological site in southern Anatolia.

Microplastics Are Contaminating Archaeological Remains, Scientists Say

A new study has identified 16 different microplastic polymer types in samples dating back to the first or early second century and excavated in the late 1980s.
A plastic container lying on a beach.

Researchers Develop Biodegradable Plastic That Won’t Leave Microplastics Behind

The new plant-based polymers biodegrade in under seven months, even at the microplastic level.
Plastic clumping together in blue ocean water.

Large Amounts of Plastic Are Accumulating in the Ocean, Even Outside the Notorious “Garbage Patch”

A new study has revealed the extent of the spread of plastic across the North Pacific ocean, finding large quantities outside of the notorious "garbage patch".
A seagull walking along the top of a wooden fence.

97% of Antarctic Seabirds Have Ingested Microplastic

A new review of seabird studies suggests that the vast majority of arctic and antarctic seabirds have ingested microplastic particles.
Microplastics in the ocean.

New Technology Can Remove Microplastics From Water With 94% Efficiency

University of Waterloo researchers have created a new technology that can remove harmful microplastics from contaminated water with 94 per cent efficiency.
Small plastic fragments.

Micro- and Nanoplastics in the Body Are Passed On During Cell Division

Micro- and nanoplastic particles remain in cells for much longer than previously thought, and can be passed from cell to cell during division, shows new research.
A copper-metal kettle whistling out steam on a gas stove

Concerned About Microplastics in Your Water? Consider Boiling It First

A new study has found that boiling water traps microplastic particles inside the limescale deposits that build up on a kettle’s inner surfaces, reducing a person's exposure to microplastics.
A woman folds laundry.

Washing Clothes Releases More Than Just Microplastics

Some of the supposed nanoplastics released during textile washing are not nanoplastics at all, but are actually clumps of water-insoluble oligomer molecules. The toxicity of these compounds is not known.
A collection of tyres.

New Method Detects Tire Toxins in Rivers

Scientists at the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH) have developed a robust method for detecting whether a toxic chemical used in car tyres is present in rivers, streams and lakes, and measuring its concentrations.