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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Plant & Soil Sciences

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Microplastics are an emerging environmental contaminant. One of the ways microplastics can get into the environment is by the breakdown of larger plastics. These plastics can come from industrial practices, discarded fabrics, agriculture, and general plastic waste. As these plastics are broken down microplastics leach into the environment. The widespread use of plastics has resulted in the spread of microplastic contaminants all over the world. Microplastics have been reported to be in drinking water, so this paper is looking at the presence of microplastics in local communities of different demographics and socioeconomic statuses. In other studies of different drinking water contamination, minority, and low-income communities had worse quality water. In this paper, methods for sampling, extraction, and analysis with Laser Direct Infrared Spectroscopy were used. Out of Cities A, B, and C, City A, with the largest population, higher percentage of minorities, and worse off socioeconomic status, had the highest particle count. More research is needed in this field to find how socioeconomic status can affect exposure to microplastic contamination.


First Advisor

Baoshan Xing

Second Advisor

Masoud Hashemi

Third Advisor

Om Parkash Dhankher