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Occurrence of Polyethylene Terephthalate and Polycarbonate Microplastics in Infant and Adult Feces

  • Junjie Zhang
    Junjie Zhang
    Department of Pediatrics and Department of Environmental Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, United States
    Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Pollution Processes and Environmental Criteria, Tianjin Key Laboratory of Environmental Remediation and Pollution Control, College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Nankai University, Tianjin 300350, China
    More by Junjie Zhang
  • Lei Wang
    Lei Wang
    Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Pollution Processes and Environmental Criteria, Tianjin Key Laboratory of Environmental Remediation and Pollution Control, College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Nankai University, Tianjin 300350, China
    More by Lei Wang
  • Leonardo Trasande
    Leonardo Trasande
    Department of Pediatrics and Department of Environmental Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, United States
  • , and 
  • Kurunthachalam Kannan*
    Kurunthachalam Kannan
    Department of Pediatrics and Department of Environmental Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, United States
    *Tel.: +1 212-263-1546. Email: [email protected]
Cite this: Environ. Sci. Technol. Lett. 2021, 8, 11, 989–994
Publication Date (Web):September 22, 2021
Copyright © 2021 American Chemical Society

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    Although human exposure to microplastics (MPs) and the health effects thereof are a global concern, little is known about the magnitude of exposure. In this study, we quantitatively determined the concentrations of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polycarbonate (PC) MPs in three meconium and six infant and 10 adult feces samples collected from New York State. PET and PC MPs were found in some meconium samples (at concentration ranges from below the limit of quantification [<LOQ] to 12,000 and <LOQ–110 ng/g dry weight, respectively) and all infant stool specimens (PET: 5700–82,000 ng/g, median, 36,000 ng/g; PC: 49–2100 ng/g, median, 78 ng/g). They were also found in most (PET) or all (PC) adult stool samples but at concentrations an order of magnitude lower than in infants for PET MPs (<LOQ–16,000 ng/g, median, 2600 ng/g). The estimated mean daily exposures from the diet of infants to PET and PC MPs were 83,000 and 860 ng/kg body weight per day, respectively, which were significantly higher than those of adults (PET: 5800 ng/kg-bw/day; PC: 200 ng/kg-bw/d). Our study suggests that infants are exposed to higher levels of MPs than adults.

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    • Sample extraction method; HPLC mobile phase gradient; MS parameters for the analysis of TPA and BPA; method quantification limits and recoveries of TPA and BPA; and concentrations of PET MPs, PC MPs, TPA, and BPA in individual samples (PDF)

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