Atharv Dangore Alexis Smith Marwa M. El-Sayed Foram Madiyar
Department of Aerospace Engineering Department of Civil Engineering Department of Physical Sciences
Microplastics (MPs) are defined as small fragments of plastic or synthetic polymer material less than 5mm in size. Previous research has primarily focused on MPs in marine and coastal environments; ho..
Microplastics (MPs) are defined as small fragments of plastic or synthetic polymer material less than 5mm in size. Previous research has primarily focused on MPs in marine and coastal environments; however, characterization of MPs in the atmosphere has been limited. The goal of this study is to investigate MPs in the atmosphere, i.e., their composition, origin, and transport, because of the uncertainties associated with the impacts of MPs on human health upon inhalation. Due to no existing protocol, a working methodology is continually being modeled since the Summer of 2021. Active and passive sampling is conducted in the summer season at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University campus in Daytona Beach, Florida. This location is advantageous due to its diverse air pollution sources and meteorological conditions. Daily active sampling entails using the Tisch High Volume Air Sampler, whereas weekly passive sampling utilizes a setup devised to hold a filter where MPs are deposited through wet and dry processes. Filters will then be submerged in 30% hydrogen peroxide at 40°C to remove any organic material, ensuring that only MPs are analyzed. Followed by vacuum filtration where the MPs are transferred to a 0.45μm polytetrafluoroethylene 47 mm diameter membrane filter for visual analysis. Optical characterization of MPs is conducted using a ZEISS Axioscope 7 compound microscope to determine the size distribution of these particles. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy is utilized to investigate the chemical composition of MPs. This study has implications for the effects of MPs on human health via inhalation and their impacts on water bodies and soil upon deposition.