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Environmental problems - Chemical approaches
Environmental Chemistry

Environmental Chemistry

Volume 18 Number 3 2021

RESEARCH FRONT: Plastics in the Environment

Guest editors:
Jason M. Unrine (Ed.) (University of Kentucky)
Thilo Hofmann (University of Vienna)

EN20143Microplastic fibre releases from industrial wastewater effluent: a textile wet-processing mill in China

Carmen K. M. Chan, Curie Park, King Ming Chan, Daniel C. W. Mak, James K. H. Fang and Denise M. Mitrano 0000-0001-8030-6066
pp. 93-100

Environmental context. Microplastic fibres (MPFs) released from textiles are routinely found throughout the environment as an indicator of human impacts. The presence of MPFs in industrial wastewater effluents shows that attention should be placed not only on domestic release but also on the upstream processes of textile production. In the context of global MPF release, the ability to target and treat industrial effluents may significantly reduce a potentially major point source.

EN21030Additives and polymer composition influence the interaction of microplastics with xenobiotics

Darius Hummel 0000-0002-2522-8007, Andreas Fath, Thilo Hofmann 0000-0001-8929-6933 and Thorsten Hüffer
pp. 101-110
Graphical Abstract Image

Environmental context. The effects of the presence of polymer additives and polymeric structure on sorption of xenobiotics to microplastics remain unclear. Our results combined data from experimental sorption batch experiments using three environmentally relevant model sorbates with confocal microscopy. This provides clear evidence that both factors play a major role in sorption strength and the underlying sorption process, affecting sorption onto the particle surface and partitioning into the bulk polymer.

EN21033Plasticisers in the terrestrial environment: sources, occurrence and fate

Alex Billings 0000-0002-8042-5599, Kevin C. Jones, M. Glória Pereira and David J. Spurgeon
pp. 111-130

Environmental context. Many human activities cause the release of plastic and associated plasticisers to land, where chemicals may persist for extended periods and be taken up by organisms. However, quantitative information of the terrestrial occurrence, fate and exposure of phthalate and non-phthalate plasticisers is lacking. Research into this field is needed, especially as society moves away from phthalates to the next generation of plasticisers which may themselves represent an emerging risk.

EN21043Influence of CNT loading and environmental stressors on leaching of polymer-associated chemicals from epoxy and polycarbonate nanocomposites

Imari Walker 0000-0001-9419-320X, Manuel D. Montaño, Ronald S. Lankone, D. Howard Fairbrother and P. Lee Ferguson 0000-0002-8367-7521
pp. 131-141
Graphical Abstract Image

Environmental context. Carbon nanotubes are added to polymers such as polycarbonate and epoxy to form nanocomposites with enhanced material properties. Environmental factors including temperature, UV light exposure and pH have the potential to degrade these composites and increase the release of toxic polymer-associated chemicals. This study investigates how carbon nanotube loading decreases the release of known endocrine-disrupting compounds, bisphenol A and 4-tert-butylphenol, from polymer nanocomposites under simulated weathering environments.

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