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Marine and land plastic debris biodegrades at micro- and nanoscales through progressive fragmentation. Oceanographic model studies confirm the presence of up to ~2.41 million tons of microplastics across the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian subtropical gyres. Microplastics distribute from primary (e.g., exfoliating cleansers) and secondary (e.g., chemical deterioration) sources in the environment. This anthropogenic phenomenon poses a threat to the flora and fauna of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems as ingestion and entanglement cases increase over time. This review focuses on the impact of microplastics across taxa at suggested environmentally relevant concentrations, and advances the groundwork for future ecotoxicological-based research on microplastics including the main points: (i) adhesion of chemical pollutants (e.g., PCBs); (ii) biological effects (e.g., bioaccumulation, biomagnification, biotransportation) in terrestrial and aquatic organisms; (iii) physico-chemical properties (e.g., polybrominated diphenyl ethers) and biodegradation pathways in the environment (e.g., chemical stress, heat stress); and (iv) an ecotoxicological prospect for optimized impact assessments.


© 2020 Published by Elsevier. Original published version available at

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Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology



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Biology Commons



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