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Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Persistence of ‘wet wipes’ in beach sand: An unrecognised reservoir for localised E. coli contamination
Author(s): Metcalf, Rebecca
Fellows, Rosie
White, Hannah L
Quilliam, Richard S
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Keywords: Public health
Environmental pathogens
Sewage discharge
Plastic pollution
Sand microbiology
Issue Date: Apr-2024
Date Deposited: 7-Mar-2024
Citation: Metcalf R, Fellows R, White HL & Quilliam RS (2024) Persistence of ‘wet wipes’ in beach sand: An unrecognised reservoir for localised E. coli contamination. <i>Marine Pollution Bulletin</i>, 201, Art. No.: 116175.
Abstract: The flushing of wet wipes down toilets leads to blockages of sewerage systems. This, together with unregulated sewage discharge, often results in increasing numbers of wet wipes washing up onto beaches. However, it is unclear how long wet wipes can persist on the beach and whether they pose a prolonged public health risk if contaminated by E. coli. In this mesocosm study, three types of wet wipes (plastic containing, and home and commercially compostable) colonised with E. coli were buried in beach sand and their degradation, tensile strength, and concentration of E. coli was quantified over 15 weeks. Wet wipes containing plastic remained largely intact for 15 weeks, whilst both compostable wet wipes fragmented and degraded. Importantly, E. coli persisted on all three wet wipe types, representing localised reservoirs of E. coli in the sand, which could present a human health risk at the beach.
DOI Link: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2024.116175
Rights: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons CC-BY license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. You are not required to obtain permission to reuse this article. To request permission for a type of use not listed, please contact Elsevier Global Rights Department.
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