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      Plastic rain in protected areas of the United States

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          Abstract

          Eleven billion metric tons of plastic are projected to accumulate in the environment by 2025. Because plastics are persistent, they fragment into pieces that are susceptible to wind entrainment. Using high-resolution spatial and temporal data, we tested whether plastics deposited in wet versus dry conditions have distinct atmospheric life histories. Further, we report on the rates and sources of deposition to remote U.S. conservation areas. We show that urban centers and resuspension from soils or water are principal sources for wet-deposited plastics. By contrast, plastics deposited under dry conditions were smaller in size, and the rates of deposition were related to indices that suggest longer-range or global transport. Deposition rates averaged 132 plastics per square meter per day, which amounts to >1000 metric tons of plastic deposition to western U.S. protected lands annually.

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          Atmospheric transport and deposition of microplastics in a remote mountain catchment

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            Is Open Access

            Microplastics in the aquatic and terrestrial environment: sources (with a specific focus on personal care products), fate and effects

            Due to the widespread use and durability of synthetic polymers, plastic debris occurs in the environment worldwide. In the present work, information on sources and fate of microplastic particles in the aquatic and terrestrial environment, and on their uptake and effects, mainly in aquatic organisms, is reviewed. Microplastics in the environment originate from a variety of sources. Quantitative information on the relevance of these sources is generally lacking, but first estimates indicate that abrasion and fragmentation of larger plastic items and materials containing synthetic polymers are likely to be most relevant. Microplastics are ingested and, mostly, excreted rapidly by numerous aquatic organisms. So far, there is no clear evidence of bioaccumulation or biomagnification. In laboratory studies, the ingestion of large amounts of microplastics mainly led to a lower food uptake and, consequently, reduced energy reserves and effects on other physiological functions. Based on the evaluated data, the lowest microplastic concentrations affecting marine organisms exposed via water are much higher than levels measured in marine water. In lugworms exposed via sediment, effects were observed at microplastic levels that were higher than those in subtidal sediments but in the same range as maximum levels in beach sediments. Hydrophobic contaminants are enriched on microplastics, but the available experimental results and modelling approaches indicate that the transfer of sorbed pollutants by microplastics is not likely to contribute significantly to bioaccumulation of these pollutants. Prior to being able to comprehensively assess possible environmental risks caused by microplastics a number of knowledge gaps need to be filled. However, in view of the persistence of microplastics in the environment, the high concentrations measured at some environmental sites and the prospective of strongly increasing concentrations, the release of plastics into the environment should be reduced in a broad and global effort regardless of a proof of an environmental risk. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12302-015-0069-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorised users.
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              Microplastic in terrestrial ecosystems and the soil?

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Science
                Science
                American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
                0036-8075
                1095-9203
                June 11 2020
                June 12 2020
                June 11 2020
                June 12 2020
                : 368
                : 6496
                : 1257-1260
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Watershed Sciences, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322, USA.
                [2 ]Geosciences Department, Salt Lake Community College, Salt Lake City, UT 84123, USA.
                [3 ]Materials and Structural Analysis Division, Thermo Fisher Scientific, San Jose, CA 95134, USA.
                Article
                10.1126/science.aaz5819
                32527833
                bca9e5ef-24eb-4d56-9216-4fb4b8e05e04
                © 2020

                http://www.sciencemag.org/about/science-licenses-journal-article-reuse

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