Oral Presentation Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Australasia 2021

  Microplastics in Homes: The Risk of Exposure and the Potential Consequences (#68)

Neda Sharifi-Soltani 1 , Scott P Wilson 1 , Mark P Taylor 1
  1. Macquarie University, North Ryde, NEW SOUTH WALES, Australia

Plastics are ubiquitous in society and as such microplastic (MP) pollution has become a common issue. However, little is known of levels of this contaminant indoors and as we spend approximately 70% of our time at home, the risk of exposure is potential high. This study quantitatively assessed the prevalence, source and type of MPs in homes with the goal of evaluating human health exposure potential. Airborne indoor deposited dust samples were collected over a one-month period. Microplastic fibre deposition rate ranged from 22–6169 fibres/m2/day. Deposited dust comprised 99% fibres with a significant difference between the deposition rate and the main floor covering. Polyethylene, polyester, polyamide, polyacrylic, and polystyrene fibres were found in higher abundance in homes with carpet as the main floor covering. Vacuum cleaner use was also significantly related to MP deposition rates. Modeled mean inhaled MP weight and count was 2±0.7 mg/kg-Bw/year and 18,415±6,389 fibres/year with the greatest inhalation intake rates found in the <0.5-yr age group, at 2.9 mg/kg-Bw/year. Similarly, ingestion rates were greater in the younger age groups, therefore the greatest exposures risks reside with younger children. The consequences of these exposures and the strategies for reduction will be discussed.