These additives, which are often hazardous chemicals, are generally blended into most plastics in order to make plastics better, for instance, to stabilize polymers against UV degradation or oxidation, to simply add colors, and so on.
"We uncovered that 4 kinds of UV stabilizers and 2 brominated flame retardants at detection frequencies of 4.6 per cent and 2.1 per cent, respectively. Our previous researches showed that these additives in plastics are transferred from ingested plastics and unfortunately accumulated in some tissues of seabirds" said Dr. Hideshige Takada, the corresponding author of the study.
"These findings imply that any of these additives can be detected in the tissue of seabirds which ingest 15 pieces of plastics with a probability of 73 per cent. We found that ingestion of 15 pieces of plastics per one individual is actually happening in the real-world case of the Albatross. We could foresee in the near future that 90 per cent of the individuals would accumulate additives derived from ingested plastics if the number would increase double, that is 30 pieces per individual," said Dr. Takada.