Study: Wasting away: Sea urchins suffer deformities from plastic chemicals

MongabayWasting away: Sea urchins suffer deformities from plastic chemicals.

  • Chemicals found both in new plastics and those washed up on a U.K. beach caused deformities in sea urchin larvae, according to a new study in the journal Environmental Pollution.
  • Sea urchin larvae raised in water tainted by chemicals found in plastics showed serious deformities; plastics that had never been chemically treated did not cause deformities.
  • Chemicals are added to some plastics to enhance their properties, while plastics at sea can accumulate and concentrate chemicals already polluting the oceans.
  • Researchers say more needs to be done to prevent plastics from reaching the ocean.

scientific paper in Environmental Pollution used some of Arnold’s sweepings from Tregantle Beach to investigate the impacts of microplastics on purple sea urchins (Paracentrotus lividus). The scientific team, headed by Eva Jimenez-Guri, a developmental biologist from Spain based at the University of Exeter, U.K., looked at how chemicals from plastics affect the development of sea urchin larvae.

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