New publication in Environmental Science and Technology elucidates the leaching process of phthalates from polyvinyl chloride microplastics into the aquatic environment


Phthalic acid esters (phthalates) are crucial plasticizers for the flexibility of plastic products, especially polyvinyl chloride (PVC). They have been detected everywhere in the environment, but data on leaching process remain largely unknown. In this study, Charlotte Henkel, Thorsten Hüffer and Thilo Hofmann combine experimental data from leaching experiments and modeling and elucidate the governing leaching process of phthalates from PVC microplastics into aquatic systems. Their results reveal that PVC microplastics are a long-term source of phthalates in the environment and enable a better understanding of the fate and impact of phthalates and microplastics in the environment.