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Home  > Raw materials & technologies  > Applications  > Protective & Marine coatings  > Sea polluted by paint dust

Sunday, 22 September 2019
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Raw materials & technologies, Applications, Protective & Marine coatings

Sea polluted by paint dust

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Even when the ocean looks clean, the top layer is chock full of paint dust and particles, researchers have found.

Polymers from coatings are a source of microplastics on the sea surface 
Source: EpicStockMedia - Fotolia.com

Polymers from coatings are a source of microplastics on the sea surface
Source: EpicStockMedia - Fotolia.com

Determining the exact abundance of microplastics on the sea surface can be susceptible to the sampling method used.

Polymers from coatings are a source of microplastics

The sea surface microlayer (SML) can accumulate light plastic particles, but this has not yet been sampled. The abundance of microplastics in the SML was evaluated off the southern coast of Korea. The SML sampling method was then compared to bulk surface water filtering, a hand net (50μm mesh), and a Manta trawl net (330μm mesh). The mean abundances were in the order of SML water > hand net > bulk water > Manta trawl net. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) identified that alkyds and poly(acrylate/styrene) accounted for 81 and 11%, respectively, of the total polymer content of the SML samples. These polymers originated from paints and the fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) matrix used on ships. Synthetic polymers from ship coatings should be considered to be a source of microplastics. Selecting a suitable sampling method is crucial for evaluating microplastic pollution. The researchers now plan to study the metals and organic chemicals on the paint particles and determine whether they can harm marine life.

The study is published in: American Chemical Society, 24 July 2014.

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