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Microplastics: a new challenge for environment and human health

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ANTONIO CONTO
Chemsafe, Colleretto Giacosa (TO), Italy

FOREWORD

Plastic is the most prevalent type of debris found in our ocean, lakes and rivers. Plastic debris can come in all shapes and sizes, but those that are less than five millimeters in length (or about the size of a sesame seed) are called “microplastics.” Hence, microplastics are very small pieces of plastic that are present in the natural environment and can pollute it. Microplastics are not a specific kind of plastic, but rather any type of plastic fragment that is less than 5 mm in length according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

 

Microplastics come from a variety of sources, including from larger plastic debris that degrades into smaller and smaller pieces called secondary microplastics. In addition, microbeads, a type of microplastic, are very tiny pieces of manufactured polyethylene plastic that are added as exfoliants to health and beauty products, such as some cleansers and toothpastes. These tiny particles easily pass through water filtration systems and end up in oceans, lakes and rivers posing a potential threat to aquatic life.

 

There is now a high level of con ...




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