Release of Plastic Additives and Microplastic Particles from Different Consumer Products into Water under Accelerated UV Weathering Conditions – by Dr. Lars Hildebrandt, Hereon


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Photodegradation of plastic products is known to accelerate weathering and the resulting release of chemical additives and particles to the environment, however these processes are complex. Here, eight different plastic consumer products were leached in double-distilled water under exposure to strong ultraviolet (UV) light for ten days, and the chemical composition of the leachates was compared to their respective dark controls. The leachates and plastic particles were investigated with a wide battery of chemical-analytical tools to broadly characterize the underlying processes and possible hazards. These covered (a) metal(loid) analysis, (b) microplastic analysis, (c) analysis of >70 organic target analytes and (d) nontargeted screening of the extracts.