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Different stories told by small and large microplastics in sediment - first report of microplastic concentrations in an urban recipient in Norway

Haave, Marte, Lorenz, Claudia, Primpke, Sebastian, Gerdts, Gunnar
Marine pollution bulletin 2019 v.141 pp. 501-513
Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, environmental assessment, microplastics, polyamides, polyurethanes, resins, risk assessment, sediments, wastewater, water pollution, zinc chloride, Norway
Microplastics (MP) in sediments from discharge sites for wastewater and deposition sites in deep regions in an urban fjord in Norway were extracted by density separation in a Microplastic Sediment Separator with ZnCl2. Particles (>11 μm) were identified using FTIR. Twenty different polymer types were identified, at concentrations from 12,000 to 200,000 particles kg−1 dw. Over 95% of the MP were smaller than 100 μm. High deposition of small MP agreed with known areas for organic deposition. Polyurethane acrylate resins dominated the small MP while polyamide fibers dominated the larger MP. Particles >500 μm showed different maximum concentrations and spatial distribution from the smaller particles. This study is the first to report concentration ranges of identified plastic particles from a Norwegian fjord, down to sizes below the limit of visual identification. The results provides a baseline for future comparison, and point at relevant sizes for environmental risk assessments.