Defining quality criteria for nanoplastic hazard evaluation : the case of polystyrene nanoplastics and aquatic invertebrate Daphnia spp.

Jemec Kokalj A, Heinlaan M, Novak S, Drobne D, Kühnel D.
[ site ] Nanomaterials, 2023

Polystyrene nanoparticles are the most investigated type of nanoplastics in environmental hazard studies. It remains unclear whether nanoplastic particles pose a hazard towards aquatic organisms. Thus, it was our aim to investigate whether the existing studies and data provided therein are reliable in terms of data completeness. We used the example of Daphnia spp. studies for the purpose of polystyrene nanoplastic (nanoPS) hazard evaluation. First, a set of quality criteria recently proposed for nanoplastic ecotoxicity studies was applied. These rather general criteria for all types of nanoplastics and different test organisms were then, in the second step, tailored and refined specifically for Daphnia spp. and nanoPS. Finally, a scoring system was established by setting mandatory (high importance) as well as desirable (medium importance) criteria and defining a threshold to pass the evaluation. Among the existing studies on nanoPS ecotoxicity for Daphnia spp. (n = 38), only 18% passed the evaluation for usability in hazard evaluation. The few studies that passed the evaluation did not allow for conclusions on the hazard potential of nanoPS because there was no consensus among the studies. The greatest challenge we identified is in data reporting, as only a few studies presented complete data for hazard evaluation.