Photochemical weathering leads to degradation of microplastics and releases chemical additives, polymeric fragments, and/or byproducts. This study evaluated the release kinetics of organotin compounds (OTCs) from three different sized (10-300 μm) polyvinyl chloride (PVC) microplastics under UV- and visible light irradiation. Four OTCs, dimethyltin (DMT), monomethyltin (MMT), dibutyltin (DBT), and monobutyltin (MBT), were found to release from PVC particles after 24 h leaching in darkness ranging from 2 to 20 μg·g-PVC-1. Under UV/visible light irradiation, only DMT and DBT were detectable, whereas MMT and MBT were not detected due to rapid photodegradation. The total tin concentrations (including organic and inorganic tins) in the aqueous phase monotonically increased under light exposure. By contrast, they reached plateaus after 24 h in darkness, confirming the photodegradation of OTCs. A release kinetics model was established and correctly interpreted the microplastics size effect on the OTC release process. Finally, the impacts of salinity and dissolved organic matter (DOM) were investigated. The release and photodegradation of OTCs were both inhibited at high salinity conditions, probably due to the enhanced readsorption of OTCs on PVC microplastics and the formation of halogen radicals that were less reactive toward neutral OTCs. The presence of DOM, however, increased OTCs release probably because the excited state triplet DOM (3DOM*) formed and reacted with OTCs from PVC microplastics.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry