“Studying microplastics is hard because [they are] not a single contaminant like lead or a uniform contaminant like PCBs [polychlorinated biphenyls],” said NIEHS grantee Mark Hahn, Ph.D., a senior scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. “It is a diverse and complex mixture of materials.”
The threat to human health is complex and poorly understood. “There are a lot more questions than answers at this point,” says Mark Hahn, a toxicologist at WHOI who studies microplastics.
A recent studyfound that when four different types of post-consumer microplastics collected from the waters of the North Pacific Gyre were placed under a solar simulator, they dissolved into organic carbon.
A major component of ocean pollution is less devastating and more manageable than usually portrayed.
Researchers from MIT and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution say that sunlight can break down polystyrene within a few decades.
Polystyrene, a common ocean pollutant, decomposes in sunlight much faster than thought, a new study finds.
Where are the sources of these microplastics? Well, as a Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution video explains, some of the microplastics may be coming from larger plastic objects such as bottles and other households goods being ground up by the elements.