The polymers and their additives in particulate plastics: What makes them hazardous to the fauna?

Srinidhi Sridharan, Manish Kumar, Mahua Saha, M B Kirkham, Lal Singh, Nanthi S Bolan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

109 Citations (Scopus)


Due to the increasing concerns on global ecosystems and human health, the environmental risks posed by microplastics (MPs) and nanoplastics (NPs) have become an important topic of research. Their ecological impacts on various faunal species have been extensively researched and reviewed. However, the majority of those studies perceive these micro(nano)-plastics (MNPs) as a single entity rather than a collective term for a group of chemically distinct polymeric particulates. Each of the plastic polymers can possess unique physical and chemical behavior, which, in turn, can determine the possible environmental impacts. Furthermore, many studies explore the adsorption, absorption, and release of other environmental pollutants by MNPs. But only a handful of them explore the leaching of additives possessed by these polymers. Data on the environmental behavior and toxicity of individual additives associated with different polymer particulates are scarce. Knowledge about the leachability and ecotoxicity of the additives associated with environmental MNPs (unlike large plastic particles) remains limited. The ecological impacts of different MNPs together with their additives and the basis of their toxicity have not been explored yet. The present review systematically explores the potential implications of environmentally predominant polymers and their associated additives and discusses their physicochemical characteristics. The review ultimately aims to provide novel insights on what components precisely make MNPs hazardous to the fauna. The paper also discusses the major challenges proposed in the available literature along with recommendations for future research to throw light on possible solutions to overcome the hazards of MNPs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number153828
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2022


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