Available on demand

Plastic pollution is a major environmental issue faced at global scale. Micro- and nanoplastics enter the environment in consumer and industrial products and as breakdown products of plastics of larger size (macroplastics). Initial efforts to assess the environmental risk associated with plastic pollution focused on the marine environment; however,  micro- and nanoplastics have been found in a variety of environmental compartments: wastewater, surface water, biosolids… Molecular spectroscopy-based methods were first employed for studying these contaminants. Recently, pyrolysis coupled with gas chromatography mass spectrometry (Py-GCMS) has been successfully applied for the identification and quantitation of various types of plastics. In this event, our two speakers will discuss the suitability of this technique for assessing the fate of microplastics in the environment. They will also present examples of how they have applied Py-GCMS for studying these contaminants in water, biosolids and seafood samples, among others.


Kevin Thomas
Director / Professor
Queensland Alliance for Environmental Health Sciences, University of Queensland

Professor Kevin Thomas is Director of the Queensland Alliance for Environmental Health Sciences (QAEHS). Kevin is an environmental health scientist with a particular interest in characterising the totality of the chemical exposome throughout our lives. His research is focused on developing sensitive and novel techniques to sample and quantify environmental exposure in order to try and better understand the risk posed to health from exposure to complex mixtures of chemicals. One such area is environmental microplastics where his team at the University of Queensland has been developing approaches to analyse plastics in a range of environmental samples including biosolids and fish. Author of over 200 peer-reviewed papers and Associate Editor for the journal Science of the Total Environment, Kevin is a strong collaborative researcher having founded the international SCORE network on sewer biomarker analysis for community health assessment (http://www.score-cost.eu) and as recently reported in Science is currently establishing a global emerging contaminant early warning network (http://science.sciencemag.org).

John Scott
Senior Chemist
Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, University of Illinois

John Scott is a senior chemist at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center at the University of Illinois. His research interests include emerging contaminants, waste to energy, biomass utilization and natural products. He has been involved in microplastics research for the past 6 years and participates in regional and international projects addressing microplastics in freshwater systems.

Ruth Marfil-Vega
Environmental Marketing Manager
Shimadzu Scientific Instruments

Ruth Marfil-Vega is the Environmental Marketing Manager at Shimadzu Scientific Instruments (SSI). She has more than 15 years of experience in the environmental chemistry, science and engineering fields, developing and implementing solutions for emerging water quality issues and regulated contaminants for various stakeholders in the water sector. Before joining SSI, she worked at American Water and EPA ORD. She received a PhD in Environmental Science from the University of Cincinnati.