Microplastics Pose an Ever-Increasing Pollution and Health Problem
Plastic pollution is one of the most pervasive issues affecting our oceans and water supplies across the globe. Microplastics are formed through degradation of larger pieces of plastic in the environment and are classified as plastics of a size less than 5 mm in diameter. Microplastics, in the form of microbeads, are also used to add flavor to toothpastes and fragrance to anti-microbial soaps. They are also used in other industrial applications. In additional to creating issues in water supplied, microplastics have been found to be harmful to marine plant and wildlife. Recently, studies have indicated their presence in drinking water (even bottled water) and in human samples too. Further, these plastics can accumulate organic pollutants that adsorb to them are therefore biomagnified up the food-chain. Several nations have recently banned single-use plastics and have committed to reduced the widespread use of plastics in general.
Agilent’s expertise in infrared (IR) imaging provides an ideal tool to measure microplastics. IR imaging provides the opportunity to simultaneously identify the shape, size, and characterization of microplastics; something that is lacking in many other analyzation techniques. In addition, Agilent offers both benchtop and portable handheld solutions to analyze microplastics onsite in the environment enabling immediate and real-time information.