Occurrence and concentrations of chemical additives in plastic fragments on a beach on the island of Kauai, Hawaii
In the ocean, plastic debris containing chemical additives is fragmented into smaller pieces that can be ingested by a wide range of organisms, potentially exposing them to additives. However, the levels of additives retained in marine plastic fragments have rarely been assessed. In this study, 141 plastic fragments from a beach in Kauai were analyzed piece-by-piece for 12 compounds, including UV stabilizers and brominated flame retardants. UV stabilizers (UV-326, UV-328, UV-327, and BP-12) were found in 13% of “small” fragments (4–7 mm) with levels of up to 315 μg/g and in 33% of “large” fragments (15–80 mm) with levels of up to 1130 μg/g. This observation suggests that exhaustive leaching of additives does not occur during fragmentation and that significant levels of additives, comparable to those of the original products, can be retained in fragments of marine plastic, indicating their importance as a vector of chemical additive exposure.