Study Examines How Plastic Particles Release Pollutants in Agricultural Soils

A study by the University of Vienna explored whether pollutants carried by nano- and microplastics travel through agricultural soils to end up in groundwater. The study notes that fertilizers such as compost manure or sewage sludge and the remains of agricultural mulching foils carry large quantities of plastic particles, so-called macro-, micro-, and nanoplastics, onto agricultural land. These plastic particles always contain numerous additives. Though this study found that the additives don’t typically travel through the soil to contaminate groundwater, it found that they instead are released in upper layers of the agricultural soil, where they have a negative effect on soil microbes and crops.