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Research article2023Peer reviewed

Small Butt Harmful: Individual- and Population-Level Impacts of Cigarette Filter Particles on the Deposit-Feeding Polychaete Capitella teleta

Sandgaard, Monica H.; Syberg, Kristian; Gronlund, Sara N.; Riisgaard, Eva K.; Rishoj, Christian; Palmqvist, Annemette


In the marine environment, discarded cigarette filters (CFs) deteriorate and leach filter-associated chemicals. The study aim was to assess the effects of smoked CFs (SCFs) and non smoked CFs (NCFs) particles on individual life-history traits in the deposit-feeding polychaete Capitella teleta and extrapolate these to possible population-level effects. C. teleta was exposed to sediment spiked particles of NCFs and SCFs at an environmentally realistic concentration (0.1 mg particles g-1 dw sed) and a 100-fold higher (10 mg particles g-1 dw sed) concentration. Experimental setup incorporated 11 individual endpoints and lasted approximately 6 months. There were significant effects on all endpoints, except from adult body volume and egestion rate, in worms exposed to 10 mg SCF particles g-1 dw sed. Although not statistically significant, there was >= 50% impact on time between reproductive events and number of eggs per female at 0.1 mg SCF particles g-1 dw sed. None of the endpoints was significantly affected by NCFs. Results suggest that SCFs are likely to affect individual life-history traits of C. teleta, whereas the population model suggests that these effects might not transform into population-level effects. The results further indicate that chemicals associated with CFs are the main driver causing the effects rather than the CF particles.


microplastic; cellulose acetate; sediment; chronic exposure; feeding rate; life-history traits; reproduction; population dynamics

Published in

Environmental Science and Technology
2023, Volume: 57, number: 8, pages: 3218-3227