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The Microplastics and PFAS Connection

Authors: Cook, C., Steinle-Darling, E.

Water Online, April 2021

microplastic particles in water

Microplastics, small plastic particles with sizes ranging from 5 millimeters to 1 nanometer with various morphologies such as microfibers, fragments, pellets (nurdles), or microbeads, have received increasing attention, including upcoming statewide monitoring in California. While co-occurrence is well-known for a variety of contaminants like triclosan and triclocarban, the connection between microplastics and PFAS has not been studied in much detail despite being linked together in multiple ways. Not only can some PFAS occur as microplastics such as polyvinyl fluoride (PVF) and polytetrafluorethylene (PTFE), it is also used as a coating on synthetic textiles and plastic components that then break down to fiber- or particle-based macro-, meso-, or microplastics.

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Cook, C., Steinle-Darling, E. “The Microplastics and PFAS Connection.” Water Online. April 2021.