Special Issue on COVID-19 Aerosol Drivers, Impacts and Mitigation (IX)

Qingyang Liu This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.1, James Schauer2,3

1 Co-Innovation Center for the Sustainable Forestry in Southern China, College of Biology and the Environment, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing 210037, China
2 Environmental Chemistry and Technology Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA
3 Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53718, USA

Received: July 24, 2020
Revised: October 21, 2020
Accepted: October 25, 2020

 Copyright The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited.

Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2020.07.0439  

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Cite this article:

Liu, Q., Schauer, J. (2021). Airborne Microplastics from Waste as a Transmission Vector for COVID-19. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 21, 200439. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2020.07.0439


  • Airborne microplastics from waste contaminated with SARS-CoV-2 may transmit SARS-CoV-2.
  • Airborne microplastics carrying SARS-CoV-2 may extend the transmission of SARS-CoV-2.
  • The management of contaminated plastic waste should be highlighted.


Occurrences of microplastics (plastic particle < 5 mm) have been observed in various environmental media (e.g., soil, water and air) worldwide, posing a threat to ecological, human, and animal health. Microplastics could also serve as vectors which transport toxic hydrophobic organic compounds around the globe and negatively affect the environmental quality. This paper analyzes the possible link between airborne microplastics from waste that are contaminated with SARS-CoV-2, and the transmission of SARS-CoV-2. In addition, measures for controlling the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in airborne microplastics were discussed. Our study indicates that precautionary action regarding the management of contaminated plastic waste should be considered in order to combat the spread of SARS-CoV-2 through airborne microplastic.

Keywords: COVID-19, Airborne microplastics, Vector, Transmission

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