Dangerous microplastics in topshells and anemones along the North coast of Spain.

Lotte Janssens

While levels of microplastics and other pollutants keep increasing in all coastal habitats, seafood is being eaten widely all over the world. Many questions about safety regarding these products have been raised but not all of them have been addressed. In this research, the anemone Actinia equina and the topshells Phorcus lineatus and Steromphala umbilicaris were sampled along the central north coast of Spain. The samples were digested using hydrogen peroxide and filtered with a vacuum pump. Putative microplastics (N = 464) were identified, counted and 5% of them were analyzed through FT-IR spectroscopy. The most common particles were fibers, with transparent, blue, and black as most prominent colors. The most common type of particle was anthropogenically modified cellulose, with plastic material in the second place. Types of plastic included PE, polyester, PET, PP, nylon, PS, EDTA, PVB, and acrylic fibers. The sampled species contained several harmful and possible harmful compounds, including a type of which even one particle could be fatal if inhaled. This highlights the urgent need for studies regarding the safety of seafood. Investigation analyzing bigger percentages of microplastics with FT-IR spectroscopy would be interesting to estimate the extent of these dangerous and poisonous compounds and particles.