Plastic Microfibers: Recent Findings and Potential Solutions

Plastic microfiber pollution is a new topic of environmental and human health concern, with the most alarming findings released in just the last year!

These are tiny plastic fibers, about half the size of a red blood cell, which split off from products made of synthetic plastic material, including your favorite workout clothes made from nylon, fleece, and polyester. The fibers are so small that they escape wastewater treatment facilities and enter freshwater bodies and the ocean, where they can be inhaled or eaten by plankton. Plastic microfibers then move all the way up the food chain to the fish and shellfish we purchase for consumption! For instance – 1 in 4 finfish sampled at a California fish market contained plastic microfibers; and in Germany, chemists found plastic microfibers in all 24 beers sampled. To put the magnitude of microfiber release into perspective, a 2016 study pioneered by Patagonia Outfitters and conducted by the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management found that a single fleece jacket shed up to 250,000 microfibers during a single wash.

For a quick summary on the issue, check out this video from the Story of Stuff!

Read the whole article here