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Table 2 Overview of sources for primary and secondary microplastics in the environment

From: Microplastics in the aquatic and terrestrial environment: sources (with a specific focus on personal care products), fate and effects

Primary microplastics
 Specific personal care products containing microplastics as exfoliants/abrasives
 Specific medical applications (e.g. dentist tooth polish)
 Drilling fluids for oil and gas exploration
 Industrial abrasives
 Pre-production plastics, production scrap, plastic regranulate: accidental losses, run-off from processing facilities
Secondary microplastics
 General littering, dumping of plastic waste
 Losses of waste during waste collection, from landfill sites and recycling facilities
 Losses of plastic materials during natural disasters
 Plastic mulching
 Synthetic polymer particles used to improve soil quality and as composting additive
 Abrasion/release of fibres from synthetic textiles
 Release of fibres from hygiene products
 Abrasion from car tyres
 Paints based on synthetic polymers (ship paints, other protective paints, house paint, road paint): abrasion during use and paint removal, spills, illegal dumping
 Abrasion from other plastic materials (e.g. household plastics)
 Plastic items in organic waste
 Plastic coated or laminated paper: losses in paper recycling facilities
 Material lost or discarded from fishing vessels and aquaculture facilities
 Material lost or discarded from merchant ships (including lost cargo), recreational boats, oil and gas platforms
  1. Based on [9, 21, 25, 31, 53, 55, 57, 58, 60, 61, 70, 72, 75, 7779, 81]