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Phthalates in western Aleutian Island seabirds
Causey, Douglas Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alaska, Anchorage, Alaska.
Padula, Veronica Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alaska, Anchorage, Alaska.
- Materials and methods
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Plastic polymers have transformed the way we live since they were invented almost a century ago. They are used in many consumer products because they are lightweight, durable, inexpensive, and good insulating materials. Plastics are difficult to eliminate from the environment because their chemical bonds are resilient and impervious to natural biodegradation; instead, most plastics only break down to smaller and smaller pieces (microplastics). Plastic waste has polluted the Earth's surface and represents a significant source of persistent, bioaccumulating, and toxic substances. Today, plastic fragments are found in all terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems, extending from the Arctic to Antarctica. A recent study by J. R. Jambeck and coworkers estimated that 275 million metric tons (MT) of plastic waste are generated per year, with 4.8 to 12.7 million MT entering the ocean. Plastic pollution is particularly an issue in the North Pacific Ocean, where gyral currents concentrate plastic into the notorious “Garbage Patch.” See also: Persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic pollutants; Ocean; Ocean circulation; Pacific Ocean; Polymer
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