Scientists at Staffordshire University in the U.K. are using crime scene tape to analyze microplastics sampled from bodies of water.

Easylift adhesive tape, which has been used for recovering trace evidence from crime scenes, is now proving effective in the collection of microplastics from water for analysis.

Easylift tape used int he collection of microplastics. Source: University of StaffordhshireEasylift tape used int he collection of microplastics. Source: University of Staffordhshire

According to the Staffordshire University team, current standards for collecting microplastics for analysis include filtration, wherein samples are analyzed while the microplastic sits in the filter or is removed by hand. However, this method risks cross contamination or loss of the sample.

As such, the team determined that the crime scene tape could improve collection efforts, enabling the analysis of samples to potentially reveal microplastic sources and their respective destinations. Researchers also suggest that the Easylift tape could be used to store the samples, securing them for future analysis.

According to the team: "The ultimate goal is that this will become the standardized workflow for microplastics research across the world. At the moment, scientists are extrapolating data and it is only through constant monitoring that we will we truly know how much microplastic pollution is out there. If there is a standardized method to globally track microplastics then we can much better understand the risks and where we should be targeting our efforts for mitigation."

The research appears in the journal Environmental Advances.

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