Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.142870
Document accepted manuscript
Title (Primary) The diverse metal composition of plastic items and its implications
Author Klöckner, P.; Reemtsma, T.; Wagner, S.
Journal Science of the Total Environment
Year 2021
Department ANA
Volume 764
Page From art. 142870
Language englisch
Topic T9 Healthy Planet
Keywords Microplastic; Toxic metals; Tire wear; Leaching; Weathering; Aging
Abstract Plastic items from urban, freshwater and marine environments as well as from household items and electric supplies were analyzed for their metals and metalloids arsenic, barium, bismuth, cadmium, cobalt, chromium, copper, manganese, nickel, iron, lead, antimony, tin and zinc. Total metal contents ranged from 3 μg/kg (5th percentile) up to up to 7 g/kg (95th percentile). The median content of most metals was below 1 mg/kg and did not exceed legal limits. Iron and zinc were the metals with the highest contents, with medians of approximately 50 mg/kg. Multivariate statistics (k-means clustering and principal component analysis) did not reveal a polymer specific metal composition except for samples of tire tread rubber that was obtained from passenger car tires. Investigation on the potential origin of the metals in plastics revealed that pigments were the most likely source. In comparison to natural and anthropogenic materials in rivers, oceans and air, the metal content of plastic items was within the same order of magnitude, except for antimony and zinc contents. Literature data on the adsorption capacities of plastics suggested that the inherent content of barium, iron, antimony and zinc was dominating the total content in the studied samples. Compared to suspended sediments in rivers, the metal flux into marine environment transported with plastic items was found to be negligible due to the three orders of magnitude lower masses. The different properties, however, may consequently lead to the transport of plastics and their constituents into pristine and remote environments which natural particulate matter may not reach.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Klöckner, P., Reemtsma, T., Wagner, S. (2021):
The diverse metal composition of plastic items and its implications
Sci. Total Environ. 764 , art. 142870