Climate love

Ajema Lydiah

3 w

Göteborgs universitet

Climate love

Study shows cigarette butts leak deadly toxins into the environment

Cigarette filters are the world's most common form of litter. Researchers from the University of Gothenburg can now show that the filters leak thousands of toxins and plastic fibers that are toxic to aquatic larvae. The researchers are therefore calling for these filters to be completely banned.
the footpath, at the bus stop, in the park and on the beach. You can hardly avoid seeing cigarette butts in the streetscape. And these butts aren't just butt-ugly to behold—they're also really bad for the environment. A research group at the University of Gothenburg has shown in a study that microfibers and the chemicals that leak out of the filters in cigarette butts are toxic to aquatic larvae.

"The filter is full of thousands of toxic chemicals and microplastic fibers, so it's not just any piece of plastic that's being discarded into the environment. It's hazardous waste," says Bethanie Carney Almroth, Professor of Ecotoxicology at the University of Gothenburg.

Cigarette filters killed mosquito larvae

In the study, which has been published in the journal Microplastics and Nanoplastics, the researchers tested the effects of the toxins that are found in the filter after smoking, as well as the substances that are in the filter from the start, on aquatic mosquito larvae.

It turns out that the toxins lead to a 20% higher mortality rate among mosquito larvae. Previous research has shown that the toxins in the filters also have adverse effects on many other aquatic organisms. For example, fish can die if they are exposed to concentrations corresponding to the toxins exuded by barely two cigarette butts in one liter of water for four days.

"Cigarette filters are also a major source of the microplastics that find their way into our environment—something we know has a major negative impact on biological life. The EU has already classified cigarette filters as hazardous waste," says Professor Carney Almroth.

Cigarette butts are thrown on the ground

From the turn of the year, it will be the tobacco producers who have to pay for cleaning up cigarette butts. But it's not enough to just put out more ashtrays. The researchers also observed in the study how smokers in Gothenburg behave when it's time to put out their cigarettes. It turns out that many people throw their cigarette butts on the ground even if there are ashtrays nearby.

"The clean-up costs the municipalities millions of kronor, but there will still be many cigarette butts in the environment. We are now conducting a survey of plastic litter across all of Sweden with the aid of community science in what we're calling the Plastics experiment. That way, we can work with school children and others to get better figures on where and how many cigarette butts with filters are found in the environment, in addition to other problematic plastic products," says Professor Carney Almroth.

She doesn't think there are any good arguments at all for filters to remain a component of cigarettes. Along with other experts, Professor Carney Almroth has written an opinion piece in the magazine Science of the Total Environment arguing that cigarette butts are not just the most common litter item in the world, they are also just a marketing ploy that do little to protect the smoker, as many people believe they do.

"That's why they have to be taken off the market entirely," says Professor Carney Almroth. "It's not the right approach to focus on making tobacco producers pay for cleaning up the filters. The problem should be prevented in the first place, rather than cleaned up later," says Professor Carney Almroth.

Study shows cigarette butts leak deadly toxins into the environment

Cigarette filters are the world's most common form of litter. Researchers from the University of Gothenburg can now show that the filters leak thousands of toxins and plastic fibers that are toxic to aquatic larvae. The researchers are therefore calling for these filters to be completely banned.

https://phys.org/news/2023-05-cigarette-butts-leak-deadly-toxins.html




Do you agree?

46 more agrees trigger social media ads

  • We Don't Have Time

    3 w

    Dear Ajema Lydiah Thank you for getting your climate love to level 2! We have reached out to Göteborgs universitet and requested a response. I will keep you updated on any progress! /Adam We Don't Have Time

    1
    • George Kariuki

      3 w

      Individuals should properly dispose of their cigarette waste.

      1
      • Tabitha Kimani

        3 w

        The most devastating news I have ever heard. Worse still is the lack of action towards this pollutant.

        2
        • walter lungayi

          3 w

          control measures should be put in place

          2
          • Daniel Waweru

            3 w

            The government should have laws that regulates such activities

            5
            • Annett Michuki..

              3 w

              this has been happening for the longest time, just that our people has been ignoring it

              5
            • ance Star

              3 w

              The government should come with strict laws of unesesary disposal of cigarette remainder/buds

              10
              • Daniel Waweru

                3 w

                @ance_star i agree, and be very strict with them

                2
              • Sarah Chabane

                3 w

                Is it really a new info though 🤔 it feels like we have known for a long time that cigarettes are bad for our environment and ourselves

                7
                • rosebellendiritu

                  3 w

                  @sarah_chabane it's not new but unfortunately we just fold our hands and watch

                  4
                  • Daniel Waweru

                    3 w

                    @sarah_chabane Yes, it is not news, just that we've been giving the issue a blind eye until now we see the vast effects

                    4
                  • Patrik Lobergh

                    3 w

                    If I remember correctly, one cigarette butt pollute roughly 40 liter of water..which is massive

                    7
                    • Daniel Waweru

                      3 w

                      @patrik_lobergh It is hard to think past this information, This is massacre

                      4
                      • Tabitha Kimani

                        3 w

                        @patrik_lobergh What? and we still have the butts everywhere!

                        2
                        • Patrik Lobergh

                          2 w

                          @tabitha_kimani As long as you are not being fined for throwing the butts on the streets or in nature, nothing will change. 100 butts destroys 4.000 liter if waters 😱

                        • dickson mutai

                          3 w

                          We should have smoking zones/areas and disposal of filters and ash in a designated bins ...

                          14
                          • Ann Nyambura

                            3 w

                            @dickson_mutai and also how or where disposal of the buds should be done after collection ... better yet .. just stop smoking

                            5
                            • rosebellendiritu

                              3 w

                              @ann_nyambura_542 that can only be the permanent solution

                              5
                            • Joseph Githinji

                              3 w

                              This is an amazing revelation , hope this will fall to listening ears and their production stopped immediately.

                              12
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