Determination of the selected heavy metal and metalloid contents in various types of plastic bags

  • Ohidul AlamEmail author
  • Li Yang
  • Xu Yanchun
Research Article


The immense plastic bags (PBs) consumption is the potential threat for environment and public health due to discharging toxic pollutants (i.e., metals and metalloids) throughout its entire life cycle. The purpose of the study was to investigate the heavy metal (HM) contents in PE, HDPE, LDPE and PVC bags with several colors and applications. The HM contents in the PB were analyzed by ICP–OES after acid digestion. Results demonstrated that the HM contents in PB notably disagreed based on the used polymer types, colors and applications. The highest contents of Pb, Cr, Cd, As, Cu and Zn were 66, 75, 16, 28, 96 and 154 in mg/kg unit, respectively in PE bags; 71, 74, 34, 39, 430 and 212 in mg/kg unit, respectively in HDPE bags; 12, 74, 23, 43, 158 and 54 in mg/kg unit, respectively in LDPE bags; and 16, 23, 474, 12, 45 and 90 in mg/kg unit, respectively in PVC bags. Furthermore, 12 out of 36 PB samples were noticed to violate the standards (ISO 8124-3) in terms of Pb, Cr, Cd and As contents. So there is the potentiality of HM and metalloid pollution from discarded PB during treatment, recycling and disposal.


Environment Health Heavy metal Plastic bag Pollution 



The authors acknowledge financial support from the National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program, No. 2011CB201500).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

There is no conflict of interest in terms of authorship and funding sources.

Supplementary material

40201_2019_337_MOESM1_ESM.docx (23 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 23 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UNEP_Tongji Institute of Environment for Sustainable Development (IESD), College of Environmental Science and EngineeringTongji UniversityShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China

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