Micro(nano)plastics – Analytical challenges towards risk evaluation

Elsevier, TrAC Trends in Analytical Chemistry, Volume 111, 2019,Pages 173-184. 
Authors: 
João Pinto da Costa, Vanessa Reis, Ana Paço, Mónica Costa, Armando C. Duarte, Teresa Rocha-Santos

The quantification of micro- and nanoplastics in environmental matrices is an analytical challenge and pushes to the use of unrealistic high exposure concentrations in laboratory studies which can lead to manifestations of ecotoxicological effects and risks estimation that are transient under natural conditions. Moreover, in field studies, it is difficult to compare the data obtained due to the lack of sampling protocols, standardized methodologies and techniques for the identification and quantification of micro- and nanoplastics, owing to the inherent physical characteristics of the these materials. Also, the definition of exposure limits is difficult due to the challenge of analytical methodologies. Therefore, this paper aims to characterize the existent analytical challenges in each step from isolation to quantification of nano- and microplastics and their consequences in the estimation of risks.