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Interactions between microplastics and phthalate esters as affected by microplastics characteristics and solution chemistry

Liu, Fei-fei, Liu, Guang-zhou, Zhu, Zhi-lin, Wang, Su-chun, Zhao, Fei-fei
Chemosphere 2019 v.214 pp. 688-694
calcium chloride, dibutyl phthalate, diethyl phthalate, hydrophobic bonding, microplastics, organic matter, pH, pollutants, poly(vinyl chloride), polyethylene, polystyrenes, sodium chloride, sorption, sorption isotherms
Microplastics have become a major concern in recent years as they can be recognized as the transport vectors for pollutants in environment. In this study, the sorption behavior of two phthalate esters (PAEs), including diethyl phthalate (DEP) and dibutyl phthalate (DBP), onto three types of microplastics (PVC: polyvinyl chloride, PE: polyethylene, and PS: polystyrene) was investigated. The sorption isotherms of both DEP and DBP on microplastics were highly linear, suggesting that the partition was the main sorption mechanism. The Kd values of DBP were much higher than those of DEP, demonstrating that hydrophobic interaction governed the partition mechanism. Sorption of the two PAEs on the three microplastics followed the order of PS > PE > PVC, indicating that chemical properties of microplastics played an important roles in their sorption behaviors. Solution pH and natural organic matter had no significant impact on PAEs sorption by microplastics. However, the presence of NaCl and CaCl2 enhanced the sorption of both DEP and DBP because of the salting-out effect. The findings of the present study may have significant implications for the fate and transport assessment of both PAEs and microplastics.