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An investigation into the leaching of micro and nano particles and chemical pollutants from disposable face masks - linked to the COVID-19 pandemic

Geraint L. Sullivan Orcid Logo, Javier Delgado Gallardo, Trystan Watson Orcid Logo, Sarper Sarp Orcid Logo

Water Research, Volume: 196, Start page: 117033

Swansea University Authors: Geraint L. Sullivan Orcid Logo, Javier Delgado Gallardo, Trystan Watson Orcid Logo, Sarper Sarp Orcid Logo

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Abstract

The production of disposable plastic face masks (DPFs) in China alone has reached to approximately 200 million a day, in a global effort to tackle the spread of the new SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, improper and unregulated disposals of these DPFs has been and will continue to intensify the plastic pol...

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Published in: Water Research
ISSN: 0043-1354
Published: Elsevier BV 2021
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URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa56400
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However, improper and unregulated disposals of these DPFs has been and will continue to intensify the plastic pollution problem we are already facing. This study focuses on the emission of pollutants from 7 DPF brands that were submerged in water to simulate environmental conditions if these DPFs were littered. The DPF leachates were filtered by inorganic membranes, and both particle-deposited organic membranes and the filtrates were characterized using techniques such as FTIR, SEM-EDX, Light Microscopy, ICP-MS and LC-MS. Micro and nano scale polymeric fibres, particles, siliceous fragments and leachable inorganic and organic chemicals were observed from all of the tested DPFs. Traces of concerning heavy metals (i.e. lead up to 6.79 &#xB5;g/L) were detected in association with silicon containing fragments. ICP-MS also confirmed the presence of other leachable metals like cadmium (up to 1.92 &#xB5;g/L), antimony (up to 393 &#xB5;g/L) and copper (up to 4.17 &#xB5;g/L). LC-MS analysis identified polar leachable organic species related to plastic additives and contaminants; polyamide-66 monomer and oligomers (nylon-66 synthesis), surfactant molecules, dye-like molecules and polyethylene glycol were all tentatively identified in the leachate. 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spelling 2022-08-15T12:57:21.2863374 v2 56400 2021-03-11 An investigation into the leaching of micro and nano particles and chemical pollutants from disposable face masks - linked to the COVID-19 pandemic c3b9c5e1e6357330527c1a63a479b0f3 0000-0002-3370-2768 Geraint L. Sullivan Geraint L. Sullivan true true 1a35cea6f5d5e28ee22fc2d490e102d2 Javier Delgado Gallardo Javier Delgado Gallardo true false a210327b52472cfe8df9b8108d661457 0000-0002-8015-1436 Trystan Watson Trystan Watson true false ca341f0a3e516f888e12d2710d06e043 0000-0003-3866-1026 Sarper Sarp Sarper Sarp true false 2021-03-11 The production of disposable plastic face masks (DPFs) in China alone has reached to approximately 200 million a day, in a global effort to tackle the spread of the new SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, improper and unregulated disposals of these DPFs has been and will continue to intensify the plastic pollution problem we are already facing. This study focuses on the emission of pollutants from 7 DPF brands that were submerged in water to simulate environmental conditions if these DPFs were littered. The DPF leachates were filtered by inorganic membranes, and both particle-deposited organic membranes and the filtrates were characterized using techniques such as FTIR, SEM-EDX, Light Microscopy, ICP-MS and LC-MS. Micro and nano scale polymeric fibres, particles, siliceous fragments and leachable inorganic and organic chemicals were observed from all of the tested DPFs. Traces of concerning heavy metals (i.e. lead up to 6.79 µg/L) were detected in association with silicon containing fragments. ICP-MS also confirmed the presence of other leachable metals like cadmium (up to 1.92 µg/L), antimony (up to 393 µg/L) and copper (up to 4.17 µg/L). LC-MS analysis identified polar leachable organic species related to plastic additives and contaminants; polyamide-66 monomer and oligomers (nylon-66 synthesis), surfactant molecules, dye-like molecules and polyethylene glycol were all tentatively identified in the leachate. The toxicity of some of the chemicals found and the postulated risks of the rest of the present particles and molecules, raises the question of whether DPFs are safe to be used on a daily basis and what consequences are to be expected after their disposal into the environment. Journal Article Water Research 196 117033 Elsevier BV 0043-1354 15 5 2021 2021-05-15 10.1016/j.watres.2021.117033 COLLEGE NANME Swansea University Medical School COLLEGE CODE Swansea University EPSRC (EP/R51312X/1; EP/N020863/1) and Swansea University Collage of Engineering. 2022-08-15T12:57:21.2863374 2021-03-11T09:27:18.6599387 Faculty of Science and Engineering School of Engineering and Applied Sciences - Uncategorised Geraint L. Sullivan 0000-0002-3370-2768 1 Javier Delgado Gallardo 2 Trystan Watson 0000-0002-8015-1436 3 Sarper Sarp 0000-0003-3866-1026 4 56400__19474__c257ae6ced2446359bbdc34d693dde5a.pdf 56400.pdf 2021-03-11T09:29:02.3532262 Output 1385011 application/pdf Accepted Manuscript true 2022-03-10T00:00:00.0000000 ©2021 All rights reserved. All article content, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives License (CC-BY-NC-ND) true eng http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
title An investigation into the leaching of micro and nano particles and chemical pollutants from disposable face masks - linked to the COVID-19 pandemic
spellingShingle An investigation into the leaching of micro and nano particles and chemical pollutants from disposable face masks - linked to the COVID-19 pandemic
Geraint L. Sullivan
Javier Delgado Gallardo
Trystan Watson
Sarper Sarp
title_short An investigation into the leaching of micro and nano particles and chemical pollutants from disposable face masks - linked to the COVID-19 pandemic
title_full An investigation into the leaching of micro and nano particles and chemical pollutants from disposable face masks - linked to the COVID-19 pandemic
title_fullStr An investigation into the leaching of micro and nano particles and chemical pollutants from disposable face masks - linked to the COVID-19 pandemic
title_full_unstemmed An investigation into the leaching of micro and nano particles and chemical pollutants from disposable face masks - linked to the COVID-19 pandemic
title_sort An investigation into the leaching of micro and nano particles and chemical pollutants from disposable face masks - linked to the COVID-19 pandemic
author_id_str_mv c3b9c5e1e6357330527c1a63a479b0f3
1a35cea6f5d5e28ee22fc2d490e102d2
a210327b52472cfe8df9b8108d661457
ca341f0a3e516f888e12d2710d06e043
author_id_fullname_str_mv c3b9c5e1e6357330527c1a63a479b0f3_***_Geraint L. Sullivan
1a35cea6f5d5e28ee22fc2d490e102d2_***_Javier Delgado Gallardo
a210327b52472cfe8df9b8108d661457_***_Trystan Watson
ca341f0a3e516f888e12d2710d06e043_***_Sarper Sarp
author Geraint L. Sullivan
Javier Delgado Gallardo
Trystan Watson
Sarper Sarp
author2 Geraint L. Sullivan
Javier Delgado Gallardo
Trystan Watson
Sarper Sarp
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container_title Water Research
container_volume 196
container_start_page 117033
publishDate 2021
institution Swansea University
issn 0043-1354
doi_str_mv 10.1016/j.watres.2021.117033
publisher Elsevier BV
college_str Faculty of Science and Engineering
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hierarchy_top_id facultyofscienceandengineering
hierarchy_top_title Faculty of Science and Engineering
hierarchy_parent_id facultyofscienceandengineering
hierarchy_parent_title Faculty of Science and Engineering
department_str School of Engineering and Applied Sciences - Uncategorised{{{_:::_}}}Faculty of Science and Engineering{{{_:::_}}}School of Engineering and Applied Sciences - Uncategorised
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description The production of disposable plastic face masks (DPFs) in China alone has reached to approximately 200 million a day, in a global effort to tackle the spread of the new SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, improper and unregulated disposals of these DPFs has been and will continue to intensify the plastic pollution problem we are already facing. This study focuses on the emission of pollutants from 7 DPF brands that were submerged in water to simulate environmental conditions if these DPFs were littered. The DPF leachates were filtered by inorganic membranes, and both particle-deposited organic membranes and the filtrates were characterized using techniques such as FTIR, SEM-EDX, Light Microscopy, ICP-MS and LC-MS. Micro and nano scale polymeric fibres, particles, siliceous fragments and leachable inorganic and organic chemicals were observed from all of the tested DPFs. Traces of concerning heavy metals (i.e. lead up to 6.79 µg/L) were detected in association with silicon containing fragments. ICP-MS also confirmed the presence of other leachable metals like cadmium (up to 1.92 µg/L), antimony (up to 393 µg/L) and copper (up to 4.17 µg/L). LC-MS analysis identified polar leachable organic species related to plastic additives and contaminants; polyamide-66 monomer and oligomers (nylon-66 synthesis), surfactant molecules, dye-like molecules and polyethylene glycol were all tentatively identified in the leachate. The toxicity of some of the chemicals found and the postulated risks of the rest of the present particles and molecules, raises the question of whether DPFs are safe to be used on a daily basis and what consequences are to be expected after their disposal into the environment.
published_date 2021-05-15T04:03:59Z
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