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Issue 10, 2015
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Nano-plastics in the aquatic environment

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The amount of plastics released to the environment in modern days has increased substantially since the development of modern plastics in the early 1900s. As a result, concerns have been raised by the public about the impact of plastics on nature and on, specifically, aquatic wildlife. Lately, much attention has been paid to macro- and micro-sized plastics and their impact on aquatic organisms. However, micro-sized plastics degrade subsequently into nano-sizes whereas nano-sized particles may be released directly into nature. Such particles have a different impact on aquatic organisms than larger pieces of plastic due to their small size, high surface curvature, and large surface area. This review describes the possible sources of nano-sized plastic, its distribution and behavior in nature, the impact of nano-sized plastic on the well-being of aquatic organisms, and the difference of impact between nano- and micro-sized particles. We also identify research areas which urgently need more attention and suggest experimental methods to obtain useful data.

Graphical abstract: Nano-plastics in the aquatic environment

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Article information

13 May 2015
19 Aug 2015
First published
19 Aug 2015

Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2015,17, 1712-1721
Article type

Nano-plastics in the aquatic environment

K. Mattsson, L.-A. Hansson and T. Cedervall, Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2015, 17, 1712
DOI: 10.1039/C5EM00227C

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