Variability in Toxicity of Plastic Leachates as a Function of Weathering and Polymer Type: A Screening Study with the Copepod Nitocra spinipes

2021 | Biol. Bull. | 240 (3) (191-199)
chemicals , debris , harpacticoid copepod , ingestion , marine-environment , microplastics , persistent organic pollutants , polyethylene , transport , water
The production and use of plastic over many decades has resulted in its accumulation in the world's oceans. Plastic debris poses a range of potential risks to the marine environment and its biota. Especially, the potential hazards of small plastic debris and chemicals associated with plastic have not been extensively studied. When buoyant plastic is exposed to ultraviolet radiation, it will slowly degrade and leach chemicals into surrounding waters. These leachates can include additives, sorbed organic pollutants, and degradation products of the plastic polymers. While most hazard assessments have focused on studying adverse effects due to the uptake of plastic, toxicity studies of the leachates of plastics are less common. To begin to address this knowledge gap, we studied the acute toxicity of leachates from diverse plastics in the harpacticoid copepod Nitocra spinipes. Our results show that leachates caused a higher toxicity after plastic was exposed to ultraviolet light compared to leaching in darkness. We observed differences in toxicity for different polymer types: polyvinyl chloride and polypropylene resulted in the most toxic leachates, while polystyrene and poly[ethylene terephthalate] were least toxic. Furthermore, we observed increased toxicity of leachates from some plastics that had been weathered in the real marine environment compared to matching new materials. Our results indicate that both weathering condition and polymer type influence the toxicity of plastic leachates.

Chemical requirements in Swedish municipal green public procurement: Challenges and opportunities

Wendt-Rasch, L; Holmberg, L; Hagerman, H; Breitholtz, M; Ekman, E; Ruden, C
2021 | J. Clean. Prod. | 299
chemical requirement , complex product chains , contract compliance , exposure , gpp , hazardous chemicals , management , procurement , responsible procurement , risks , substitution
Green public procurement has been identified as an important instrument to achieve the aim of substituting hazardous chemicals to more benign alternatives. Nevertheless, few studies have investigated the specific challenges associated with practically applying procurement requirements for reducing the content of hazardous chemicals. This study contributes with identifying and describing the specific challenges, improvement options, and conflicting goals relating to the aim of reducing exposure to hazardous chemicals through green public procurement. (c) 2021 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Bioaccumulation Potential of CPs in Aquatic Organisms: Uptake and Depuration in Daphnia magna

Castro, M.; Sobek, A.; Yuan, B.; Breitholtz, M
2019 | Environ. Sci. Technol. | 53 (9533-9541)

Passive dosing of triclosan in multi-generation tests with copepods – stable exposure concentrations and effects at the low µg L-1 range

Ribbenstedt, A.; Mustajärvi, L.; Breitholtz, M.; Gorokhova, E.; Mayer, P.; Sobek, A.
2017 | Environ. Toxicol. Chem.

The dilemma in prioritizing chemicals for environmental analysis: known versus unknown hazards

2016 | Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts

Luminescent Nanocellulose Platform: From Controlled Graft Block Copolymerization to Biomarker Sensing

Navarro, J.R.G.; Wennmalm, S.; Godfrey, J.; Breitholtz, M.; Edlund, U.
2016 | Biomacromolecules | 17 (3) (1101-1109)

A strategy is devised for the conversion of cellulose nanofibrils (CNF) into fluorescently labeled probes involving the synthesis of CNF-based macroinitiators that initiate radical polymerization of methyl acrylate and acrylic acid N-hydroxysuccinimide ester producing a graft block copolymer modified CNF. Finally, a luminescent probe (Lucifer yellow derivative) was labeled onto the modified CNF through an amidation reaction. The surface modification steps were verified with solid-state 13C nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) confirmed the successful labeling of the CNF; the CNF have a hydrodynamic radius of about 700 nm with an average number of dye molecules per fibril of at least 6600. The modified CNF was also imaged with confocal laser scanning microscopy. Luminescent CNF proved to be viable biomarkers and allow for fluorescence-based optical detection of CNF uptake and distribution in organisms such as crustaceans. The luminescent CNF were exposed to live juvenile daphnids and microscopy analysis revealed the presence of the luminescent CNF all over D. magna’s alimentary canal tissues without any toxicity effect leading to the death of the specimen.

Bioassay battery interlaboratory investigation of emerging contaminants in spiked water extracts – Towards the implementation of bioanalytical monitoring tools in water quality assessment and monitoring

Di Paolo, C; Ottermanns, R; Keiter, S; Ait-Aissa, S; Bluhm, K; Brack, W; Breitholtz, M; Buchinger, S; Carere, M; Chalon, C; Cousin, X; Dulio, V; Escher, BI; Hamers, T; Hilscherova, K; Jarque, S; Jonas, A; Maillot-Marechal, E; Marneffe, Y; Nguyen, MT; Pandard, P; Schifferli, A; Schulze, T; Seidensticker, S; Seiler, TB; Tang, J; van der Oost, R; Vermeirssen, E; Zounkova, R; Zwart, N; Hollert, H
2016 | Water Res. | 104 (473-484)
Bioassays are particularly useful tools to link the chemical and ecological assessments in water quality monitoring. Different methods cover a broad range of toxicity mechanisms in diverse organisms, and account for risks posed by non-target compounds and mixtures. Many tests are already applied in chemical and waste assessments, and stakeholders from the science-police interface have recommended their integration in regulatory water quality monitoring. Still, there is a need to address bioassay suitability to evaluate water samples containing emerging pollutants, which are a current priority in water quality monitoring. The presented interlaboratory study (ILS) verified whether a battery of miniaturized bioassays, conducted in 11 different laboratories following their own protocols, would produce comparable results when applied to evaluate blinded samples consisting of a pristine water extract spiked with four emerging pollutants as single chemicals or mixtures, i.e. triclosan, acridine, 17 alpha-ethinylestradiol (EE2) and 3-nitrobenzanthrone (3-NBA). Assays evaluated effects on aquatic organisms from three different trophic levels (algae, daphnids, zebrafish embryos) and mechanism-specific effects using in vitro estrogenicity (ER-Luc, YES) and mutagenicity (Ames fluctuation) assays. The test battery presented complementary sensitivity and specificity to evaluate the different blinded water extract spikes. Aquatic organisms differed in terms of sensitivity to triclosan (algae > daphnids > fish) and acridine (fish > daphnids > algae) spikes, confirming the complementary role of the three taxa for water quality assessment. Estrogenicity and mutagenicity assays identified with high precision the respective mechanism-specific effects of spikes even when non-specific toxicity occurred in mixture. For estrogenicity, although differences were observed between assays and models, EE2 spike relative induction EC50 values were comparable to the literature, and E2/EE2 equivalency factors reliably reflected the sample content. In the Ames, strong revertant induction occurred following 3-NBA spike incubation with the TA98 strain, which was of lower magnitude after metabolic transformation and when compared to TA100. Differences in experimental protocols, model organisms, and data analysis can be sources of variation, indicating that respective harmonized standard procedures should be followed when implementing bioassays in water monitoring. Together with other ongoing activities for the validation of a basic bioassay battery, the present study is an important step towards the implementation of bioanalytical monitoring tools in water quality assessment and monitoring. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Predictions of Cu toxicity in three aquatic species using bioavailability tools in four Swedish freshwaters

Hoppe S; Sundbom M; Borg H; Breitholtz M
2015 | Environ Sci Eur | 27 (25)

Evaluation of current copper bioavailability tools for soft freshwaters in Sweden

Hoppe S; Gustafsson J-P; Breitholtz M
2015 | Ecotoxicol. Environ. Saf. | 114 (143-149)

Can natural levels of Al influence Cu speciation and toxicity to Daphnia magna in a Swedish soft water lake?

Hopp S; Gustafsson J-P; Borg H; Breitholtz M
2015 | Chemosphere | 138 (205-210)

Improving environmental risk assessment of human pharmaceuticals

Marlene Ågerstrand; Cecilia Berg; Berndt Björlenius; Magnus Breitholtz; Björn Brunström; Jerker Fick; Lina Gunnarsson; DG Joakim Larsson; John P Sumpter; Mats Tysklind; Christina Rudén
2015 | Environ. Sci. Technol. | 49 (9) (5336-5345)

This paper presents 10 recommendations for improving the European Medicines Agency’s guidance for environmental risk assessment of human pharmaceutical products. The recommendations are based on up-to-date, available science in combination with experiences from other chemical frameworks such as the REACH-legislation for industrial chemicals. The recommendations concern: expanding the scope of the current guideline; requirements to assess the risk for development of antibiotic resistance; jointly performed assessments; refinement of the test proposal; mixture toxicity assessments on active pharmaceutical ingredients with similar modes of action; use of all available ecotoxicity studies; mandatory reviews; increased transparency; inclusion of emission data from production; and a risk management option. We believe that implementation of our recommendations would strengthen the protection of the environment and be beneficial to society. Legislation and guidance documents need to be updated at regular intervals in order to incorporate new knowledge from the scientific community. This is particularly important for regulatory documents concerning pharmaceuticals in the environment since this is a research field that has been growing substantially in the last decades.

Contact information

Visiting addresses:

Geovetenskapens Hus,
Svante Arrhenius väg 8, Stockholm

Arrheniuslaboratoriet, Svante Arrhenius väg 16, Stockholm (Unit for Toxicological Chemistry)

Mailing address:
Department of Environmental Science
Stockholm University
106 91 Stockholm

Press enquiries should be directed to:

Stella Papadopoulou
Science Communicator
Phone +46 (0)8 674 70 11
stella.papadopoulou@aces.su.se