University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Place of Publication
Cigarette butts are the most common item found in coastal litter cleanups as approximately 4.5 trillion smoked cigarette butts are discarded into the environment every year. Cigarette butts can leach toxic heavy metals and nicotine along with other compounds from tobacco combustion. Past research in our lab has analyzed elements leached from cigarette butts into freshwater. The cigarette butts consisted of smoked and unsmoked butts that were soaked varying periods of time, and at different pH levels to identify the relationship of these variables to the amount of metal leached. The elements analyzed were Al, Ba, Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, Sr, Ti, and Zn. The purpose of this research was to use additional saltwater data and to study the statistical differences in elemental leaching between the two types of water. The data was also compared to determine whether a significant difference exists in the elements leached from smoked and unsmoked cigarette butts. Since Al, Ni, Pb, and Ti were below the LOD in saltwater, no comparisons were made for these elements. It was determined that most comparisons between freshwater and saltwater were significantly different, with an exception of a few comparisons. For Mn, Sr, and Zn, all the comparisons were significantly different. However, for Cd there was only one significantly different comparison. Since the concentrations of the freshwater were generally higher than the saltwater concentrations this means cigarette butts have a higher impact on freshwater sources, affecting aquatic life. This study emphasizes the importance of addressing the cigarette butt litter issue and serves to supplement the lack of literature on the subject.
B. S.; An honors thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Science.
Cigarettes; Litter (Trash); Drinking water -- Contamination; Water -- Leaching
Guzman Hernandez, Cintly, "Cigarette litter leachates: a statistical study of elements in freshwater and saltwater" (2018). Honors Theses.