Review of the partitioning of chemicals into different plastics: Consequences for the risk assessment of marine plastic debris

Isabel A O'Connor, Laura Golsteijn, A Jan Hendriks
Marine Pollution Bulletin 2016 December 15, 113 (1-2): 17-24
Marine plastic debris are found worldwide in oceans and coastal areas. They degrade only slowly and contain chemicals added during manufacture or absorbed from the seawater. Therefore, they can pose a long-lasting contaminant source and potentially transfer chemicals to marine organisms when ingested. In order to assess their risk, the contaminant concentration in the plastics needs to be estimated and differences understood. We collected from literature plastic water partition coefficients of various organic chemicals for seven plastic types: polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), high-density, low-density and ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (LDPE, HDPE, UHMWPE), polystyrene (PS), polypropylene (PP), and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Most data was available for PDMS (1060) and LDPE (220), but much less for the remaining plastics (73). Where possible, regression models were developed and the partitioning was compared between the different plastic types. The partitioning of chemicals follows the order of LDPE≈HDPE≥PP>PVC≈PS. Data describing the impact of weathering are urgently needed.

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