Monitoring of microplastic pollution in the Arctic: Recent developments in polymer identification, quality assurance and control (QA/QC), and data reporting
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionArctic Science. 2022 10.1139/AS-2022-0006
The pollution of the environment with plastics is of growing concern worldwide, including the Arctic region. While larger plastic pieces are a visible pollution issue, smaller microplastics are not visible with the naked eye. These particles are available for interaction by Arctic biota and have become a concern for animal and human health. The determination of microplastic properties includes several methodological steps, i.e. sampling, extraction, quantification and chemical identification. This review discusses suitable analytical tools for the identification, quantification and characterization of microplastics in the context of monitoring in the Arctic. It further addresses quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) which is particularly important for the determination of microplastic in the Arctic, as both contamination and analyte losses can occur. It presents specific QA/QC measures for sampling procedures and for the handling of samples in the laboratory, either on land or on ship, and considering the small size of microplastics as well as the high risk of contamination. The review depicts which data should be mandatory to report, thereby supporting a framework for harmonized data reporting.