posted on 2023-08-30, 19:12authored byDannielle S. Green, Andrew D. W Tongue, Bas Boots
Cigarette butts, one of the most littered items globally, present a unique challenge to ecosystems due to their ubiquity, persistence, and potential for harm. Over 35 studies have examined the toxicity of cigarette butts in biota from aquatic and terrestrial habitats from microbes to mice, but many organisms and habitats have not been tested. Two-thirds of studies are on aquatic organisms, and lethal effects were common. Research on the impacts on terrestrial life is lagging behind. Cigarette butts can affect the growth, behaviour, and reproductive output of individual organisms in all three habitats, but research on wider effects on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning is lacking. Here, we summarise the ecotoxicological concerns and identify important knowledge gaps for future research.