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Outdoor Microplastic Analysis Using Inlet Filters from an NOx Regulatory Air Quality Monitoring Device

Jenner, Lauren C.; Kureshi, Rameez Raja; White, David; Chapman, Emma; Sadofsky, Laura R.; Rotchell, Jeanette M.


Lauren C. Jenner

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Dr Rameez Kureshi
Lecturer and Programme Director of online MSc - Artificial Intelligence

David White

Emma Chapman


Atmospheric microplastics (MPs) are a ubiquitous environmental contaminant of emerging concern. Sampling methods provide information relating to surface area concentration and MP characteristics, without direct comparison with routinely measured standard air quality parameters. This study analysed 6 active air samples generated by a local authority as part of their routine air quality monitoring activities. Continuous sampling totalled 10 months, within the city centre of Kingston-upon-Hull. By using μFTIR analysis, levels of total particles detected using the NOx inlet filters ranged from 5139 ± 2843 particles m−2 day−1, comprising 1029 ± 594 MPs m−2 day−1. The controls displayed a mean level of 2.00 ± 3.49 MPs. The polymers nylon (32%) and polypropylene, PP (22%) were the most abundant. Small fragments of 47.42 ± 48.57 μm (length) and 21.75 ± 13.62 μm (width) were most common. An increase in MP levels during April 2020 coincided with an increase in PM10 levels. This study used robust procedures to measure MPs in the air by exploiting existing air quality monitoring equipment. Knowing the levels, types, and characteristics of MPs can inform toxicity studies to provide more environmentally relevant exposures, which is urgent now that MPs have been reported in human lung tissue.


Jenner, L. C., Kureshi, R. R., White, D., Chapman, E., Sadofsky, L. R., & Rotchell, J. M. (2022). Outdoor Microplastic Analysis Using Inlet Filters from an NOx Regulatory Air Quality Monitoring Device. Atmosphere, 13(12), Article 2017.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 28, 2022
Online Publication Date Nov 30, 2022
Publication Date 2022-12
Deposit Date Dec 1, 2022
Publicly Available Date Dec 8, 2022
Journal Atmosphere
Electronic ISSN 2073-4433
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 12
Article Number 2017
Keywords Microplastic and atmospheric; Polymer; Deposition; Outdoor; Air; μFTIR
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