Title : Novel analytical methodology for the determination of micro and nano polystyrene particles in air
The usage of plastic materials may generate small plastic fragments known as micro and nano plastics (MPs/NPs) which affect the quality of the air we breathe. Pollution due to micro and nano plastics has become a global concern due to their ubiquity and potential effects on health and ecosystems. In this study, a procedure based on thermogravimetry coupled to mass spectrometry (TGA-MS) has been developed to quantify polystyrene (PS) microplastics found in the atmosphere nearby an agricultural area. The quantification of PM10 fractions of airborne PS microplastics has been scarcely studied. For this purpose, around 50 mg of the fiberglass filters used for the airborne sample collection were pyrolyzed on the TGA instrument (40-800 ºC) at 10 ºC min-1 under nitrogen atmosphere. At the same time, sample mass loss and MS signal intensity of typical PS pyrolysis compounds (m/z 78 and m/z 104) were recorded. Limits of detection and quantification were 7.7 and 25.8 ng m-3, respectively. PS microplastic has been found in the studied atmosphere area at an average of 35.97 ng m-3, the potential contamination source being mainly related to agricultural activities. This works shows the potential of the hyphenated TGA-MS capability for the quantification of low levels of micro and nano plastics in the air, making this technique suitable for the investigation of these emerging pollutants in different environments. Knowing the concentrations of airborne PS micro and nano particles will allow the extrapolation to human exposure and risk analysis studies which in turn allow the development of air quality policies and other regulatory instruments.
- This research helps the audience to develop risk analysis studies for human health regarding micro and nano plastic particles in the environment.
- This work supports the development of a legislation associated to the presence of these emerging contaminants in the atmosphere.
- The audience may apply the analytical methodology proposed in this study to the determination of other micro and nano pollutants in the different environments and other samples like food.