Airborne microplastics have been found by researchers in Whitehorse, Yukon. 

The Yukon University researchers monitored and recorded deposition measurements of airborne microplastics for two years. Currently in the peer review process, the study led by John Postma is one of very few globally that currently measure this airborne contaminant.

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Microplastic pollution is usually associated with the ocean where it’s been widely studied, but new research shows those tiny particles can be found in the air as well, even in the Yukon. 

A team of researchers at Yukon University have been monitoring the amount of microplastics being deposited from the atmosphere into the air around Whitehorse over the past two years.

To do this, they built metal containers, similar to fly traps, and filled them with ultra-purified water. When tiny particles fall out of the atmosphere and into the container, they get trapped in the water. 

The microplastic collectors, which conform to international standards of dust fallout collection, were placed in four locations around Whitehorse and swapped out monthly to get continuous data. 

Researchers then filtered the water using a micrometer fiberglass filter. After counting the microplastics visually under a microscope, they were able to estimate the quantity of microplastics being deposited in different areas of the city.

This study makes Whitehorse one of the only cities in the world to measure microplastic deposition. The study is currently undergoing the peer review process.

Preview text: Maya Lach-Aidelbaum, June 14, 2022, CBC News.

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