Microplastics and flame retardants are persistent organic pollutants (POPs) that can accumulate in the environment, and are potential human exposures via air, water, and ingestion of food and dust. Microplastics result from either the deliberate addition of manufactured microbeads into consumer products, or via degradation of larger plastics as they age in the environment. Flame retardants are added to plastics and other consumer products to delay the onset of ignition in potential fire situations, and are often required by government flammability regulations. Microplastics and flame retardants have been shown to be potentially toxic to humans and animals, though more study is needed.
AQS is conducting several studies with collaborators to help advance and standardize the science of microplastic and flame retardant measurements, and develop methods to identify their sources.