Gallery: Ocean Plastics Absorb Other Toxins, Become Even More Dangerous...

 

Photo via Shutterstock

Along with acidification and overfishing, plastic pollution is one of the greatest threats to the health of our ocean ecosystems. New research published in this month’s issue of Environmental Science & Technology shows the absorption of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in five of the most commonly produced plastics. By taking pellets of each material and immersing them in seawater, they found not only do the plastics absorb a large amount of contaminants, but they do so over a long period of time. At one study site they estimated that it would take 44 months for high density polyethylene to stop absorbing POPs. The concern is that marine animals all the way along the food chain eat these toxic sponges, negatively affecting the health of the entire ecosystem.

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