Study Finds Microplastics Traveling Atmospherically

A study led by Cornell University and Utah State University documented how ubiquitous microplastics have become. Plastics cycle through oceans and roadways, and as the pieces become small enough, they can become airborne and move through the atmosphere. Researchers examined the sources of atmospheric microplastics and found that, in the western United States, 84% of microscopic shards came from road dust, caused by cars and trucks agitating the plastic. About 11% entered the atmosphere from sea spray, and 5% was derived from agricultural soil dust. These atmospheric plastics can land and accumulate anywhere, the researchers point out.