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
Taking a closer look at non-plastic alternatives
on May 23, 2019 at 8:04 am
Yes, it’s super useful for keeping products fresh and insulated. But its utility is offset by its impacts: overflowing landfills, ocean waste, microplastic pollution, and so on. So is it time to start ... […]
Lack of proper waste management in Egypt causes accumulation of marine plastic litter
on May 23, 2019 at 3:19 am
Further efforts to characterise the extent of plastic pollution in other locations in Egypt can help us understand how widespread the issue is there. “Microplastic pollution is characterised by ... […]
Microplastic in Atlantic: Great garbage patch
on May 22, 2019 at 12:56 am
I am in the middle of the famous Atlantic Ocean plastic patch. We’ve often heard and even read that this plastic patch was first discovered when the legendary Captain Moore sailed out and bumped into ... […]
Microplastic in Atlantic: Ocean lab near Bermuda Triangle
on May 21, 2019 at 1:05 am
They use tweezers to pull out the microplastic from the fine sieve through which the water has been strained. They also pluck put plastics from the sargasm. All plastics are placed on the grid, one ... […]
Laundry's Contribution To The World's Microplastic Problem
on May 19, 2019 at 12:12 am
We've all seen the troubling headlines. "Microplastics are raining down from the sky", "There's no getting away from microplastic contamination", or "Microplastics found in 90 percent of table salt". ... […]
Microplastic pollution load on seashore linked with coastal cities population size: study
on May 16, 2019 at 5:58 am
A study of microplastics in three coastal cities in the country has found that population size has a direct impact on the abundance and nature of microplastics on their seashore. It has also been ... […]
Plastic pollution in the oceans is harming bacteria that create 10% of the oxygen we need to breathe, study finds
on May 14, 2019 at 3:50 am
However, although around 90 per cent of microplastic contamination in the oceans is thought to originate from land, not much is known about their movements. Most rivers examined had around 517,000 ... […]
Historic deep dive into Pacific's Mariana Trench yields 'obvious human contamination'
on May 14, 2019 at 1:32 am
"It was very disappointing to see obvious human contamination of the deepest point in the ocean ... plastic waste already occupies the world’s oceans and large volumes of microplastic have been ... […]
Our clothes are hidden source of plastic pollution
on May 13, 2019 at 3:00 pm
The clothes we wear every day are causing microplastic pollution. Most clothing contains synthetic fabrics such as polyester or nylon that are essentially constructed from thin plastic fibers ... […]
For Sea Anemones, Global Warming and Microplastics Have Teamed Up to Make Everything Worse
on May 13, 2019 at 12:15 am
Improving microplastic filtration systems in wastewater treatment plants could have a major impact on marine pollution, but individuals have a role to play as well, says de Orte. She says that buying ... […]
via Bing News