Microplastics – Baleen Whale Trophic Exposure 4X Higher than Aquatic Environment

The abstract of a November 22, 2021 Science of The Total Environment paper https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.151815 by researchers with New Zealand University of Auckland, Netherlands Leiden University and UK University of Exeter reports that “… Large filter-feeding animals are potential sentinels for understanding the extent of microplastic pollution … we explore microplastic exposure and ingestion by baleen whales feeding year-round in coastal Auckland waters, New Zealand. Plastic and DNA were extracted concurrently from whale scat … we extrapolate this to total microplastic exposure levels … we find that the total exposure is four orders of magnitude more than expected from microplastic measurements of local coastal surface waters. This suggests that trophic transfer, rather than environmental exposure, is the predominant mode of exposure of large filter feeders for microplastic pollution. Measuring plastic concentration from the environment alone significantly underestimates exposure levels, an important consideration for future risk assessment studies …” #MicroPlastics #PlasticWaste #SingleUsePlastic @AucklandUni @UniLeidenNews