This Shellfish Consumes Billions Of Tiny Plastic Pieces In A Matter Of Hours

This Shellfish Consumes Billions Of Tiny Plastic Pieces In A Matter Of Hours

SOURCE: Forbes.com DATE: December 12, 2018 SNIP: Nanoplastics are a class of incredibly small microplastics that can result from microplastic production and/or plastic degradation in the natural environment – often from ultraviolet light. To give you a sense of scale, one micrometer is 1,000 nanometers and one meter is 1 billion nanometers. Because of their incredibly small size, nanoplastics are a particularly nefarious source of environmental pollution that can be difficult to detect. As a result, many laboratory studies concerning nanoplastic pollution in the oceans often use higher concentrations of nanoplastics than what occurs in the natural environment. In a recent study, authors used a novel technique to trace nanoplastics occurring in environmentally realistic concentrations within a popular seafood item: a shellfish known as a scallop. After exposing the scallops to nanoparticles for six hours, the researchers used autoradiography to locate the nanoparticles within the scallops. They found billions of larger nanoparticles (250 nanometers in size) within the scallops’ intestines and smaller nanoparticles (20 nanometers in size) distributed across the scallops’ gills, muscles, and kidneys. According to Dr. Al Sid Cheikh, “The results of the study show for the first time that nanoparticles can be rapidly taken up by a marine organism, and that in just a few hours they become distributed across most of the major...
‘Some bad actors’: Coal burning found to release possibly toxic nanoparticles

‘Some bad actors’: Coal burning found to release possibly toxic nanoparticles

SOURCE: The Sydney Morning Herald DATE: November 26, 2017 SNIP: Coal combustion, already one of the main sources of pollution, has also been found to release nano particles of titanium that are potentially harmful to humans and other life forms, researchers say. The substance had previously been considered rare, located in mudstones in a small area of western Greenland, moon rocks and in some meteorites. It turns out, however, that forms of titanium oxides “are essentially a ubiquitous accessory phase in all coals worldwide“, the researchers said in a paper published in Nature Communications. The authors of the paper emphasised that impacts of the titanium suboxides still needed to be “thoroughly tested for their toxicity in the human lung”, but leading health experts say there is reason for concern. Just as lead can have detrimental effects when it enters the bloodstream, other substances such as titanium could be expected to impact health. “These are good reasons to expect they will cause impacts,” said Professor Morawska, who is also co-chair of a World Health Organisation committee preparing to update global guidelines on ultrafine particles. “And these are good reasons to do something about it.” “These are ones that can get into the brain and cause dementia, or get into the liver, the kidneys, and pass through the placenta,” Dean Schraufnagel, Executive Director of the Forum of International Respiratory Societies,...