Hazardous chemical elements found in plastics in Lake Geneva

The first ever chemical analysis of plastic collected from beaches around Lake Geneva has detected cadmium, mercury and lead – sometimes in very high concentrations that exceed the maximum permitted under EU law.

Dr Filella, lead author of this research, said:

“Plastic debris in freshwater lakes is likely to pose the same problems to wildlife as marine plastics. In this respect, entanglement and ingestion are of greatest concern. The hazardous chemicals we find associated with these plastics are also worrying. When they are eaten by animals mistaking them for food, the acidic and enzyme-rich conditions in the stomach could accelerate how quickly these toxins are released into the body, affecting the animals concerned.”