A new source of representative secondary PET nanoplastics. Obtention, characterization, and hazard evaluation

Aliro Villacorta, Laura Rubio, Mohamed Alaraby, Montserrat López-Mesas, Victor Fuentes-Cebrian, Oscar H. Moriones, Ricard Marcos*, Alba Hernández

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Micro and nanoplastics (MNPLs) are emergent environmental pollutants requiring urgent information on their potential risks to human health. One of the problems associated with the evaluation of their undesirable effects is the lack of representative samples, matching those resulting from the environmental degradation of plastic wastes. To such end, we propose an easy method to obtain polyethylene terephthalate nanoplastics from water plastic bottles (PET-NPLs) but, in principle, applicable to any other plastic goods sources. An extensive characterization indicates that the proposed process produces uniform samples of PET-NPLs of around 100 nm, as determined by using AF4 and multi-angle and dynamic light scattering methodologies. An important point to be highlighted is that to avoid the metal contamination resulting from methods using metal blades/burrs for milling, trituration, or sanding, we propose to use diamond burrs to produce metal-free samples. To visualize the toxicological profile of the produced PET-NPLs we have evaluated their ability to be internalized by cells, their cytotoxicity, their ability to induce oxidative stress, and induce DNA damage. In this preliminary approach, we have detected their cellular uptake, but without the induction of significant biological effects. Thus, no relevant increases in toxicity, reactive oxygen species (ROS) induction, or DNA damage -as detected with the comet assay- have been observed. The use of representative samples, as produced in this study, will generate relevant data in the discussion about the potential health risks associated with MNPLs exposures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number129593
Pages (from-to)129593
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2022


  • Cell uptake
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Nanoplastics
  • Physicochemical characterization
  • Polyethylene terephthalate


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