WaterTalk: Microplastics in the environment and pitfalls in their analysisExport this event to calendar

Thursday, September 15, 2022 — 2:30 PM to 3:30 PM EDT

WaterTalks

As part of the Water Institute's WaterTalks lecture seriesJacob de Boer, Professor Emeritus, Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology, Vrije University Amsterdam, The Netherlands, will present: Microplastics in the environment and pitfalls in their analysis.

This event will be offered in person on the University of Waterloo campus in DC 1302 followed by a reception from 3:30-5:00p.m.

More information

During the last decade, the presence of plastics in the environment has received a lot of attention. There is a steep increase in the number of scientific papers on plastics in the environment and on microplastics (MP) in particular. In Europe research funding from the EU but also from industry has been redirected to the topic of (micro)plastics. Although data on microplastics are rapidly coming available, there is often serious doubt on the quality of those data. Different from the analysis of chemical contaminants, there is also a physical component in the MP analysis. That enables e.g., the option of counting particles. However, it also causes a wide variety of methods being used, of which the mutual comparability is uncertain. One important aspect in the harmonization of MP analysis is homogeneity. This is a problem in the preparation of (certified) matrix reference materials for MPs, but also in sampling. Insufficient attention to proper sampling can lead to severe over- or underestimations of MP concentrations. Other pitfalls are in specific methods used for MP analysis such as pyrolysis-GC/MS. Although offering accurate MP concentration data together with the identification of many polymer species, chemical reactions during the analysis can seriously confound the final output.  

International interlaboratory studies are currently ongoing, as well as several harmonization projects, which will hopefully lead to a better comparability of MP data. In addition to the analytical difficulties, MP data in several European surface waters will be shown and discussed.  

Speaker bio

de BoerJacob de Boer is emeritus Professor of Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He obtained a PhD in analytical chemistry at the Vrije Universiteit in 1995. Prof. de Boer has worked for 48 years on the environmental contamination and analysis of polychlorinated biphenyls, flame retardants, perfluorinated compounds and other contaminants, including microplastics.

In 1998 he won the Excellent Scientist Award of the Wageningen University. In 2015 he was honoured as one of the most cited scientists in his field (Top 1%) according to Thomson & Reuter. He is a member of the QUASIMEME Scientific Assessment Group, and member of the Scientific Advisory Panel of the CEFIC Long Range Initiative. He has (co)coordinated a number of European research projects, such as for example the ENFIRO project on alternatives for brominated flame retardants and CleanSea, on microplastics in the marine environment, and many research projects for other international organisations and industries. Currently, he is involved in three EU research projects, all with a relation to certified reference materials for contaminants/microplastics. He organised numerous international interlaboratory studies on contaminants, such as currently on microplastics. He is a regular reviewer of scientific projects and programmes in various countries.

He has published 240 peer reviewed articles with an average citation of 58.7 per article, among which one paper in Nature and one in Science, two books and 21 book chapters. His H-index is 60 (Web of Science). He is editor-in-chief of Chemosphere (Impact factor 8.94) and member of the editorial board of the Handbook of Environmental Chemistry. 


The University of Waterloo is committed to achieving barrier-free accessibility for persons with disabilities who are visiting, studying or working at Waterloo. If you have questions concerning access or wish to request accommodations for this event, please contact Julie Grant (j26grant@uwaterloo.ca) 

Cost 
Free, please register
Location 
DC 1302


Waterloo, ON
Canada

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