Leachates from pyroplastics alter the behaviour of a key ecosystem engineer

Pyroplastic, an amorphous matrix derived from the burning of manufactured plastics, is a newly described type of plastic pollution. Researchers surveyed 12 locations along northern French shores where mussel reefs are common. They recorded finding pyroplastic items at six sites (with an average weight of 3.34g) that were mostly mainly made of polyethylene. They tested the effects of exposure to raw and beached pyroplastic leachates on adaptive behavioral traits of the mussel Mytilus edulis, a key ecosystem engineer in the region. Pyroplastic leachates significantly affected the ability of mussels to move and aggregate. Polyethylene plastic had greater effects than polypropylene. These results offer the first evidence that pyroplastics may have more severe impacts on living organisms than those triggered by non-burnt plastics.

A site known as Fencelinedata.org shifts the balance of power from chemical producers to journalist, community members, and advocates that can hold them accountable.

This tool, a project of DataKind, Until Justice Data Partners, Material Research L3C, and Public Health Watch, represents a major advance in data accessibility: It makes multiple federal databases available in one place, allowing users to avoid government websites that can be difficult to navigate and interpret.

Find out which companies in your neighborhood are polluting and what harmful chemicals they are releasing into the environment. FencelineData.org provides facility-level information about environmental violations and toxic-chemical and greenhouse-gas pollution from tens of thousands of facilities that report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

It’s known plastic harms humans and other living beings, but do you known that these substances also affect Earth’s system as a whole? Due to mass-production and inadequate regulation of plastic and synthetic materials, Earth has entered a high-risk zone where irreversible change is likely.

Urgent action is in need to reduce production and toxicity of synthetic chemicals and plastics to bring the plant back into a safe and more balanced state. The health of Earth’s systems are critical to human survival, and a collapse of just one can have crippling effects across the planet.

Scientist have developed and evaluated a system marking nine planetary boundaries to act as a benchmark that the planet is safe and functioning stably. This NRDC brief discusses how plastic and chemical production and pollution stress the Earth’s planetary boundaries in serious and severe ways.

The European Environment Bureau (EEB) and ChemSec published the results of an initiative showcasing Europeans leaders testing positive for ‘Forever chemicals’ in their bodies. The detected levels of PFAS in the leaders’ bodies do not significantly differ from the average European, illustrating that no one is immune to PFAS—not even key European Officials. 

Leaders across EU nations, including Vice-Presidents, members of European Parliament, and others tested positive for at least 13 PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) “forever chemicals.” PFAS chemicals are linked to a wide range of severe health issues such as cancer, infertility, birth defects, and immune system disruptions. These results highlight failing chemical control measures and emphasize the pressing necessity of regulating hazardous materials to which people are exposed, in Europe and beyond.

Although Europe has some of the strictest chemical control policies in the world, it has not yet fully banned PFAS—a chemical category including more than 10,000 substances.

Dr. Pete Myers, Prof. Dr. Dick Vethaak, Prof. Dr. Terrence J. Collins, and Prof. Dr. Barbro Melgert have prepared a policy briefing on the UN Plastics Treaty, on behalf of the Plastic Health Council. These top health experts lay out the necessary aspects of an effective Treaty, and point out shortcomings of the existing Draft Treaty. Lastly, it highlights the latest scientific understanding of the risk of plastics and plastic chemicals, and additionally lays out short-term and long-term goals that expert health scientists propose for a Global Plastics Treaty that heeds the known science of the impact of plastic chemicals and plastic particles on human health.

Global production of plastic has resulted in the massive release of nano- and micro-plastics. Microplastics have found their way into humans, and scientists are developing a new methods to detect them. In one study, scientists found microplastics present in all 62 placentas tested from people who had recently given birth. They found various types of plastics, including polyethylene, PVC, and nylon.

The team’s methodology included saponification and ultracentrifugation to extract solid material from human placental tissue samples. They used highly specific and quantitative analysis of plastic with pyrolysis-gas chromatography and mass spectroscopy (Py-GC-MS). Placenta tissues were analyzed with fluorescence microscopy and automated particle count, which showed presence of micro-sized particles but not nano sized particles. Compared to other methodologies and tools, PY-GC-MS detected microplastics in all placenta samples.

The data that Py-GC-MS shows advancements in unbiased quantitative resolution and its application to detect microplastics in human placenta tissue samples. This method, with clinical data, could be essential to understanding the potential impacts of microplastics on pregnancy outcomes.