Friday, April 18, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Chemicals plastics absorb may increase threat to marine life

UC Davis doctoral candidate Chelsea Rockman, right, and colleagues Stephanie Celustka, left, and Meggie Moore tie bags of plastic pellets onto piping to be hung from a dock in San Diego Bay and measured for contaminants. Chelsea Rochman, UC Davis/Courtesy photo

By
From page A1 | January 16, 2013 | Leave Comment

Marine creatures that ingest plastics in the ocean might suffer from a double whammy of the plastic itself and the pollutants those plastics have absorbed while floating in the open seas, according to research led by UC Davis doctoral student Chelsea Rochman.

The study found that the most commonly produced plastics also absorbed the most chemicals, and for longer periods of time than previously thought.

Products made from the particular plastic used to make water bottles — polyethylene terephthalate, or PET — might have fewer detrimental chemical impacts than products made from other types of plastic, according to the study, published online this month in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Rochman’s research, conducted for 12 months at five locations in San Diego Bay, was the first controlled, long-term field experiment measuring the absorption of contaminants by the five most common plastics:

* Polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Recycling symbol #1. Ex: Water bottles.

* High-density polyethylene (HDPE). Recycling symbol #2. Ex: Detergent bottles.

* Polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Recycling symbol #3. Ex: Clear food packaging.

* Low-density polyethylene (LDPE). Recycling symbol #4. Ex: Plastic shopping bags.

* Polypropylene (PP). Recycling symbol #5. Ex: Yogurt containers, bottle caps.

Rochman and her colleagues deployed pellets of each plastic type in mesh bags tied to a dock at each study site. They retrieved them periodically to measure the plastics’ absorption of persistent organic pollutants.

“Consistently in our study, we found polyethylene (HDPE and LDPE) and polypropylene (PP) absorbed much greater concentrations of contaminants than PET or PVC, and those are the most commonly mass produced and consumed plastics,” said Rochman, who is a Ph.D. student in marine biology seeking a joint degree from UCD and San Diego State University. “They are also the most commonly recovered as marine debris.”

In 2007, HDPE, LDPE and PP accounted for 62 percent of all plastics produced globally, while PVC and PET represented only 19 percent and 7 percent, the study said.

The data imply that products made from HDPE, LDPE and PP may pose a greater chemical risk to marine animals that ingest plastics than products made from PET and PVC. The study notes that, although PVC did not absorb as many contaminants as did other plastics, vinyl chloride is classified as carcinogenic and toxic.

Rochman expected the pellets would absorb an increasing amount of pollutants for the first several months of the study before reaching equilibrium — the point at which they could not absorb further toxic substances. However, Rochman found that HDPE and LDPE continued to absorb contaminants throughout the 12 months.

The study estimated that, at the Shelter Island study site, it would take 44 months for HDPE and 19 months for LDPE to stop absorbing toxic substances.

“It surprised us that even after a year, some plastics would continue to take up contaminants,” Rochman said. “As the plastic continues to degrade, it’s potentially getting more and more hazardous to organisms as they absorb more and more contaminants.”

The study was funded by the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program, with additional funding from the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, the San Diego State University Research Foundation and the Padi Foundation.

— UC Davis News Service

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Former caretaker convicted of murder, elder abuse

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1, 4 Comments | Gallery

     
    Old friend helps Brad and others find kidneys

    By Dave Jones | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Chuck Rairdan joins school board race

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1, 2 Comments

    Going green at church, school, everywhere

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    For the record

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    UCD to host Global Health Day event

    By Cory Golden | From Page: A2

    Ukraine insurgents reject call to quit buildings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 3 Comments

     
    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    ‘Hitchhiking’ dog looking for new home

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Online K-12 school holds info night

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Volkssporting Club plans North Davis walks

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Schwenger lawn signs available

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

    Volunteers needed for Grad Night

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Davis grad makes rain collection a business

    By Jason McAlister | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    A few spots left on history tour

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Chipotle fundraiser boosts Emerson tech upgrade

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Event to provide nature scholarship

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Students have new options on leasing front

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Groups join for a day of service

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    NAMI backers walk in Sacramento

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    Food for the hungry

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

    .

    Forum

    Dad makes mom look bad

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

     
    More tax money? Answer the question

    By Rich Rifkin | From Page: A6, 4 Comments

     
    UCD IS responsible for students

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 4 Comments

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

     
    In search of great ideas

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

    Please keep the nursery open

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Early help is a great investment

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    .

    Sports

    Aggies lose a slugfest in opener at Riverside

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Fox coming to UCD; Riffle heads to Florida

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    DHS’ Golston goes full-bore on the diamond

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devils show more life in loss to Mitty

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Sharks double up Kings in Game 1

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    DYSA roundup: Intensity has big week; 10U games dominate schedule

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Pro baseball roundup: Susac sends Sacramento to a rare loss

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    Sports briefs: Aggies set the academic bar high

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    ‘The Bloom’ paves way for Whole Earth Festival

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    DHS tribute to Tony Fields slated for April 25-26

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    UCD, city team up for Music on the Green

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    ‘Transcendence’: A whole new level of tedium

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    .

    Business

    Ford turns its Focus to domestic market

    By Ali Arsham | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, April 18, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Real Estate Review

    Featured Listing

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER1

    Professional Services Directory

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER2

    Lyon Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER3

    Acacia at Huntington Square

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Jamie Madison

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Yolo FCU

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Travis Credit Union

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER5

    Kim Eichorn

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

    Suzanne Kimmel

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

    Lynne Wegner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Kim Merrel Lamb

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Patricia Echevarria

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Chris Snow

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Andrew Dowling

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Sheryl Patterson

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Don Guthrie

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER10

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Heather Barnes

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

    Julie Partain & Dick Partain

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

    Malek Baroody

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER13

    Karen Waggoner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Willowbank Park

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Julie Leonard

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

    Tim Harrison

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

    Team Traverso

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

    Tracy Harris

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Lori Prizmich

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Joe Kaplan

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

    Raul Zamora

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

    Open House Map

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

    F1rst Street Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER20