Are chemicals from aged plastic collected on beaches toxic for human cells?

, Le Bihanic Florane, Clérandeau Christelle, Cachot Jérôme, Morin Bénédicte.

Although there is increasing knowledge about toxicity of weathered plastic to aquatic organisms, really poor data are available for human health. Human can be exposed to plastic debris via consumption of contaminated seafood. As an example we have detected microplastics, including fibers, in marine food web of the South-West Atlantic coast up to 0.66 ± 0.96 particle/individual in tissues of cultivated oyster (N = 40), and 0.91 ± 1.15 particle/individual in seabass fish meat (N = 35). To investigate the chemical risk of plastic ingestion via contaminated seafood we have analyzed the level of cytoxicity, genotoxicity and oxidative stress induced by representative plastic debris collected on a South-West Atlantic beach. Hepatic cell line Hep G2 and intestinal cell line Caco-2 were exposed to DMSO extracts prepared from individual debris of PET, PVC, HDPE, PP and Nylon. No cytotoxicity of PET, HDPE, PP and Nylon has been observed up to 1 % (v/v) DMSO extracts. Only the 1 % PVC DMSO extract induced cytotoxicity to both Hep G2 and Caco-2 cells. DMSO extracts of 0.3 % Nylon and 0.3 % PP induced significant oxidative stress production to Hep G2 cells and 0.3 % Nylon to Caco-2 cells. Consequently, the comet assay revealed for both cell lines a significant induction of DNA damage after exposure to 0.3 % Nylon DMSO extract. PET DMSO extract at 0.3 % concentration also induced significant DNA damage to Hep G2 cells as well as 0.3 % HDPE and PVC to Caco-2 cells. Further analyses will be performed to identify the chemical fingerprints of the plastic debris that were extracted by the DMSO and could explained the observed toxicity. These results are of a high concern for the potential chemical risk of plastic ingestion to human health. This study is part of the ARPLASTIC research project.

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