8. Poisoning Our Food Chain
Synthetic microfibers are particularly dangerous because they have the potential to poison the food chain. The fibers’ size also allows them to be easily consumed by fish and other wildlife. These plastic fibers have the potential to accumulate, concentrating toxins in the bodies of larger animals, higher up the food chain.
Microbeads usually found in personal care products, recently got banned in the US, are a better-known variety of microplastic, but recent studies have found microfibers to be even more widespread.
7. Polluted Shorelines
In a radical 2011 paper, Mark Browne, now a senior research associate at the University of New South Wales, Australia, found that microfibers made up 85% of human-made debris on shorelines around the world. That’s more than half.
While Patagonia and other outdoor companies, like Polartec, use recycled plastic bottles as a way to conserve and reduce waste, this latest research shows that the plastic might ultimately end up in the oceans anyway and in a form that’s even more likely to cause problems. Nobody saw it coming but we’re now paying the price.