A method for the detection of plastic particles weighing one trillionth of a gram has been developed

In their work, the researchers used a new technique to analyze snow samples for the presence of both

micro- and nano-sized particles of variousplastics. McGill University's method is more sensitive than any modern method of tracking plastic in the environment. This allows scientists to detect the most common soluble and insoluble plastics in snow, water, rain, and even soil samples after separation - down to the picogram (or one trillionth of a gram) level. It is based on the use of nanostructured mass spectrometry. Unlike other methods currently in use, the new method is suitable for the analysis of recycled products and is environmentally friendly.

“It is important to be able to detect eventiny amounts of plastic in the environment, emphasizes the study's senior author, female scientist Paris Aria of McGill's Department of Chemistry and Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. “While these plastics themselves may be harmless, they collect toxic organic matter and heavy metals from the environment. It damages human cells and organs ”.

“We hope that this new method willused by scientists in various fields to obtain key information on the amount of micro and nanoplastics in urban environments to better assess their impact on the ecosystem and human health. ”- First author, Zi Wang, Ph.D.

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Mass spectrometry is a method of research and identification of a substance, which makes it possible to determine the concentration of various components in it.