Microfiber pollution

Eileen Driscoll

The oceans are filling up with microfiber from polyester fleece.  Another reason to weave our own fabrics from natural fibers.

From The StoryOf Stuff website

Five years ago, European researcher Mark Browne released a groundbreaking study that found widespread microplastic pollution on shorelines and coastal waters around the world, particularly near densely populated areas. One significant source of this pollution was synthetic clothing fibers, less than 1 mm in size, that are discharged from clothes washers, through water treatment and into the environment.

Then in 2015, our friends at the San Francisco Estuary Institute released a study on microplastic pollution in San Francisco Bay, finding that on average, water treatment facilities released an estimated 7 million particles of microplastic per day into the Bay—the largest Pacific estuary in the Americas. The biggest sources were found to be plastic microbeads and, you guessed it, synthetic clothing fibers.

And then last summer, outdoor clothing company Patagonia released a U.C. Santa Barbara study it commissioned that found that a single fleece jacket could release as many as 250,000 plastic fibers!

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