Characteristics of microplastic polymer-derived dissolved organic matter and its potential as a disinfection byproduct precursor

Microplastics (MP) release dissolved organic matter (MP-DOM) into aquatic systems, especially when they degrade due to UV exposure. This study found that UV increases DOM leaching from additive-free plastics. Unlike typical natural DOM, MP-DOM has low molecular weight and can produce toxic trihalomethanes (similar to natural DOM) when chlorinated. This points to a previously overlooked environmental risk from UV-affected microplastics.