Release of phthalate esters (PAEs) and microplastics (MPs) from face masks and gloves during the COVID-19 pandemic

Gabriel Enrique De-la-Torre, Diana Carolina Dioses-Salinas, Sina Dobaradaran, Jörg Spitz, Iraj Nabipour, Mozhgan Keshtkar, Razegheh Akhbarizadeh, Mahbubeh Tangestani, Delaram Abedi, Fatemeh Javanfekr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Marine pollution with personal protective equipment (PPE) has recently gained major attention. Multiple studies reported the release of microplastics (MPs) and chemical contaminants from face masks, the most used PPE type. However, not much is known concerning the release of phthalate esters (PAEs) in aquatic media, as well as the hazard posed by other types of PPE. In the present study, we investigated the release of MPs and PAEs from face masks and gloves recovered from the environment. The results indicated that both PPEs release MPs comparable to the literature, but higher concentrations were presented by face masks. In turn, the total concentration of six PAEs was higher in gloves than in face masks. The release of these contaminants is exacerbated over time. The present study allows researchers to understand the contribution of PPE to marine pollution while accounting for gloves, a generally overlooked source of contaminants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114337
Number of pages1
JournalEnvironmental Research
Issue numberPt 2
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Contaminant
  • Fiber
  • Leachate
  • Microplastics
  • Phthalate esters
  • Plastic
  • Phthalic Acids
  • Pandemics
  • Humans
  • Esters
  • Masks
  • COVID-19/epidemiology
  • Plastics


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