Pollution of the aquatic environment by anthropogenic debris is globally ubiquitous. Due to its low manufacturing cost and durability, plastic production has increased by > 600% over the past four decades, with mismanaged waste, microbeads from cosmetic products, and microfibers from synthetic fabrics accumulating in the aquatic environment. The average accumulation of microplastics in surface waters of Lake Michigan, for example, is 17,000 pcs/km2, with localized patches exceeding 100,000 pcs/km2. Contamination of the environment has subsequently resulted in the accumulation of microplastics in the aquatic food web, including in fishes targeted for human consumption. Ingestion of plastics by aquatic organisms can result in physical injury, death, and in some cases the accumulation of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) via desorption of POPs from microplastic surfaces to an organism. The presence of microplastics in the Lake Michigan food web, and the risk for POP accumulation from the ingestion of microplastics by Great Lakes fishes, however, is unknown.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||Emerging Contaminants in the Aquatic Environment Conference Champaign, IL : May 31-June 1, 2017.|
|State||Published - 2017|