Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Plastic pollution represents one of greatest anthropogenic threats to the environment. Five to ten billion tons of plastic are manufactured every year. Currently, Earth's ecosystem is contaminated with billions of tons of plastic debris, much of which cannot be recycled. Over time, this plastic debris decomposes into small particles. Small plastic particles are known to adsorb toxic compounds in marine environments. My research is concerned with creating novel methods for the detection and quantification of selected persistent organic pollutants from several media. Specifically, I developed methods for the detection and quantification of endosulfan sulfate (ESS) from Lumbricus terrestris tissue and excrement as well as soil used in the organism exposure for bioaccumulation studies. I also developed methods for detecting and quantifying 3,3,',4,4',5-pentachlorobiphenyl (PCB 126) from Daphnia magna tissue and polyethylene (PE) polymer beads related to bioaccumulation studies. I also defined the limits of quantification for a modified method to quantify PCB 126 in water samples from the same bioaccumulation studies. My research is also concerned with understanding what types of compounds attach to the surfaces of plastic particles in freshwater environments. Plastics collected from the Chicago River were extracted and analyzed for potentially toxic compounds. Triclosan, a commercially used antimicrobial agent, and the bacteria metabolite methyl triclosan were identified on plastic deliberately incubated in the river. This is a novel study of compound adsorption on plastics in a freshwater environment

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.