Are Microplastics a Vector for Chemical Contaminants in Muskegon Lake? [poster]

Lee Green, Nancy Holm, John Scott, Maggie Oudsema, Rick Rediske, Alan Steinman

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


Pollution of the aquatic environment by anthropogenic debris (plastics) is globally ubiquitous. Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are a class of hydrophobic and bioaccumulative contaminants. POPs can adsorb to plastics at concentrations greater than the surrounding environment, whereupon they can be consumed by organisms feeding either on plastics or on biofilm attached to the plastic. We deployed three plastic types at near surface and near bottom in Muskegon Lake, MI. Environmental samples were also collected and analyzed for background POP concentrations. Removal of the exposed plastics took place onemonth and three-months after deployment. Data from measurements of representative POPs on the microplastics show that chemical contaminants do concentrate on microplastics. The overall trend concerning plastic type and overall POP concentrating is polyethylene (PE) > polypropylene (PP) > polyester (PET). Within one-month, polyaromatic hydrocarbons concentrated by a factor of 30 to 280 times the aqueous concentration. Organochlorine pesticides concentrated only on PE and PP, while polychlorinated biphenyls concentrated only on PE. Even greater concentrations are associated with the three-month deployed plastics.
Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2019
EventEmerging Contaminants in the Environment Conference - Champaign, United States
Duration: May 21 2019May 22 2019


ConferenceEmerging Contaminants in the Environment Conference
Abbreviated titleECE2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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