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      Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made

      Science advances
      American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

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          Microplastic in terrestrial ecosystems and the soil?

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            A first overview of textile fibers, including microplastics, in indoor and outdoor environments

            Studies about microplastics in various environments highlighted the ubiquity of anthropogenic fibers. As a follow-up of a recent study that emphasized the presence of man-made fibers in atmospheric fallout, this study is the first one to investigate fibers in indoor and outdoor air. Three different indoor sites were considered: two private apartments and one office. In parallel, the outdoor air was sampled in one site. The deposition rate of the fibers and their concentration in settled dust collected from vacuum cleaner bags were also estimated. Overall, indoor concentrations ranged between 1.0 and 60.0 fibers/m3. Outdoor concentrations are significantly lower as they range between 0.3 and 1.5 fibers/m3. The deposition rate of the fibers in indoor environments is between 1586 and 11,130 fibers/day/m2 leading to an accumulation of fibers in settled dust (190-670 fibers/mg). Regarding fiber type, 67% of the analyzed fibers in indoor environments are made of natural material, primarily cellulosic, while the remaining 33% fibers contain petrochemicals with polypropylene being predominant. Such fibers are observed in marine and continental studies dealing with microplastics. The observed fibers are supposedly too large to be inhaled but the exposure may occur through dust ingestion, particularly for young children.
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              Synthetic fibers as an indicator of land application of sludge.

              Synthetic fabric fibers have been proposed as indicators of past spreading of wastewater sludge. Synthetic fiber detectability was examined in sludges (dewatered, pelletized, composted, alkaline-stabilized) and in soils from experimental columns and field sites applied with those sludge products. Fibers (isolated by water extraction and examined using polarized light microscopy) were detectable in sludge products and in soil columns over 5 years after application, retaining characteristics observed in the applied sludge. Concentrations mirrored (within a factor of 2) predictions based on soil dilution. Fibers were detectable in field site soils up to 15 years after application, again retaining the characteristics seen in sludge products. Concentrations correlated with residual sludge metal concentration gradients in a well-characterized field site. Fibers found along preferential flow paths and/or in horizons largely below the mixed layer suggest some potential for translocation. Synthetic fibers were shown to be rapid and semi-quantitative indicators of past sludge application.
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                10.1126/sciadv.1700782

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