While we mostly care about the appearance of our clothes, we tend to ignore the material it was made from. As long as it looks good and is comfortable to wear then we’re good to go. But did you know that the clothes we wear are polluting our oceans?
Yes, it’s a fact. Especially the ones that are made from synthetic textiles like nylon, acrylic, and polyester. New studies show that the fibers in our clothes could be poisoning our waterways and food chain on a massive scale. It’s alarming and researchers are finding more and more evidence of the damage. What is it doing to our oceans and food supply? Read on to find out.
10. The Culprit
These microfibers (tiny threads shed from fabric) are fine plastic fibers that are damaging our waterways and food supply. They may be small but don’t underestimate the damage they are doing. When professor Sherri Mason cut open a Great Lakes fish for the first time, she was terrified at what she found. Synthetic fibers were everywhere.
Under a microscope, they looked to be “weaving themselves into the gastrointestinal tract”. Sherri Mason, who works for the State University of New York at Fredonia and had been studying aquatic pollution around the Great Lakes for several years, had never seen anything like it.
9. The Source?
Now researchers are trying to find where these plastic fibers are coming from. In a disturbing study, researchers at the University of California at Santa Barbara found that, on average, synthetic fleece jackets let loose 1.7 grams of microfibers each wash. It also found that older jackets shed almost twice as many fibers as new jackets.
The study was funded by outdoor clothing manufacturer Patagonia, a certified B Corp that also offers grants for environmental work. “These microfibers then travel to your local wastewater treatment plant, where up to 40% of them enter rivers, lakes and oceans,” published on the researchers’ website.