Leachates of micronized plastic toys provoke embryotoxic effects upon sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus.
Environ Pollut. 2019 Jan 29 ;247:706-715. Epub 2019 Jan 29. PMID: 30721861
Microplastics are defined as plastic fragments<5 mm, and they are found in the ocean where they can impact on the ecosystem. Once released in seawater, microplastics can be internalized by organisms due to their small size, moreover they can also leach out several additives used in plastic manufacturing, such as plasticizers, flame retardants,etc., resulting toxic for biota. The aim of this study was to test the toxicity of micronized PVC products with three different colors, upon Paracentrotus lividus embryos. In particular, we assessed the effects of micronized plastics and microplastic leachates. Results showed a decrease of larval length in plutei exposed to low concentrations of micronized plastics, and a block of larval development in sea urchin embryos exposed to the highest dose. Virgin PVC polymer did not result toxic on P. lividus embryos, while an evident toxic effect due to leached substances in the medium was observed. In particular, the exposure to leachates induced a development arrest immediately after fertilization or morphological alterations in plutei. Finally, PVC products with different colors showed different toxicity, probably due to a different content and/or combination of heavy metals present in coloring agents.