Microplastics contaminate the world’s surface waters, yet scientists have only just begun to explore their presence in groundwater systems. A new study is the first to report microplastics in fractured limestone aquifers – a groundwater source that accounts for 25 percent of the global drinking water supply.
The study identified microplastic fibers, along with a variety of medicines and household contaminants, in two aquifer systems in Illinois. The findings are published in the journal Groundwater.
“Plastic in the environment breaks down into microscopic particles that can end up in the guts and gills of marine life, exposing the animals to chemicals in the plastic,” said John Scott, a researcher at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center and study co-author. “As the plastics break down, they act like sponges that soak up contaminants and microbes and can ultimately work their way into our food supply.”
Groundwater flows through the cracks and voids in limestone, sometimes carrying sewage and runoff from roads, landfills and agricultural areas into the aquifers below, Scott said.
The researchers collected 17 groundwater samples from wells and springs – 11 from a highly fractured limestone aquifer near the St. Louis metropolitan area and six from an aquifer containing much smaller fractures in rural northwestern Illinois.
All but one of the 17 samples contained microplastic particles, with a maximum concentration of 15.2 particles per liter from a spring in the St. Louis area, the study reports. However, deciphering what that concentration means is a challenge, Scott said. There are no published risk assessment studies or regulations.
The researchers did find, however, that concentrations from their field areas are comparable to those of surface water concentrations found in the rivers and streams in the Chicago area, said Samuel V. Panno, an Illinois State Geological Survey researcher and lead author of the study.
The Latest on: Microplastic contamination
via Google News
The Latest on: Microplastic contamination
- Fashion giants vow to end contributions to global warming and ocean plastic pollutionon August 23, 2019 at 2:55 am
the implementation of bi-annual external audits on sustainable sourcing and an ongoing declaration to support new technologies aimed at minimising waterborne microplastic pollution. “We need to show ...
- 'They are everywhere': WHO calls for research into health impacts of microplastics pollutionon August 22, 2019 at 4:26 pm
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called for an urgent assessment of the health impacts of microplastic pollution, warning existing data on the worrying amounts of tiny plastic particles in the ...
- Washing laundry may be an underappreciated source of microplastic pollutionon August 22, 2019 at 7:12 am
Concerns over plastic in the ocean are growing in recent years. About 2.41 million tons of plastic waste enter the oceans every year, including approximately 15,000 plastic bags per day.
- There’s no likely health risk of microplastics in drinking water but 'crackdown on plastic pollution’ needed, WHO study findson August 21, 2019 at 11:19 pm
But we need to find out more. We also need to stop the rise in plastic pollution worldwide.” The organization called for wastewater treatment — like filtration — that would help remove microplastic ...
- Sargasso turtles threatened by high levels of microplasticon August 20, 2019 at 6:33 am
Scientists studying the scale and impact of plastic pollution on wildlife in the Sargasso Sea have found ''extreme concentrations'' of microplastic, which they worry will threaten sea turtles and ...
- Microplastics in Arctic snow point to widespread air contaminationon August 15, 2019 at 2:28 pm
Washington (AFP) - Minute microplastic particles have been detected in the Arctic and the Alps, carried by the wind and later washed out in the snow, according to a study that called for urgent ...
- Microplastic in the atmosphere is making its way to the pristine Arcticon August 15, 2019 at 2:00 pm
To find out how much microplastic was in the air ... study add to a growing body of evidence suggesting that microplastics could be contributing to air pollution — and thus could be impacting the ...
- Scientists Warn Microplastic Pollution Has Gone Airborne, Threatening Human Healthon August 15, 2019 at 6:51 am
A new study finds tiny pieces of plastic pollution permeate the Earth’s atmosphere, falling down to earth in snowfall even in the most remote corners of the globe. Samples taken off the remote Arctic ...
- Microplastic pollution has reached the ARCTICon August 14, 2019 at 7:00 am
Arctic ice is being polluted by microplastic pollution. According to new research, the tiny particles are transported by the atmosphere and are washed out of the air, especially by snow. This means ...
- Rain Clouds Are Dropping Microplastic on the Rocky Mountainson August 13, 2019 at 12:26 pm
There’s so much microplastic pollution out in the world that it’s now accumulating in rain clouds and pouring down onto the Earth. Gregory Weatherbee, a scientist from the US Geological Survey ...
via Bing News