Nonwoven mask found in green turtle’s excrement off Japan’s Iwate Prefecture
12:11 JST, March 27, 2022
A nonwoven mask was found in the excrement of a green turtle caught in August off Iwate Prefecture, according to a research group from the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology and the University of Tokyo.
According to a report published by the group in an academic journal, the mask is made of polypropylene and more than 80% of the excrement was man-made substances such as plastic.
Cases of turtles swallowing plastic have been confirmed before, but a nonwoven mask has never been found in their excrement, the group said.
The researchers also examined chemicals used in nonwoven masks commercially available in Japan and detected ultraviolet absorbers — which are said to be endocrine disruptors — in the products of four of the five companies they studied. Ultraviolet absorbers are used an additive to prevent products from deteriorating when exposed to light.
“Marine life is exposed to chemical substances through the accidental ingestion of masks,” said Takuya Fukuoka, a marine ecology researcher at the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology. “The basic measure to prevent this is not to litter.”
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