Living in a cold winter climate, I love my fleece shirts, and have been struggling with this information for a few months trying to ignore the facts.
Studies have shown the Mississippi River is full of these microfibers. These are even smaller than microbeads. Microbeads in soaps, make-up, and toothpaste created much worry and Congress has banned them. However, new studies are showing that microfibers are worse for us and wildlife than microbeads. Yikes, very confusing. Read the entire article on the Mississippi River study
Information from NPR:
“The innovation of synthetic fleece has allowed many outdoor enthusiasts to hike with warmth and comfort. But what many of these fleece-wearing nature lovers don’t know is that each wash of their jackets and pullovers releases thousands of microscopic plastic fibers, or microfibers, into the environment — from their favorite national park to agricultural lands to waters with fish that make it back onto our plates.
This has scientists wondering: Are we eating our sweaters’ synthetic microfibers?
Probably, says Chelsea Rochman, an ecologist and evolutionary biologist at the University of Toronto, St. George. “Microfibers seem to be one of the most common plastic debris items in animals and environmental samples,” Rochman says.
In fact, peer-reviewed studies have shown that these synthetic microfibers — a type of plastic smaller than a millimeter in length and made up of various synthetic polymers — have popped up in table salt in China, in arctic waters and in fish caught off the coast of California. These tiny fibers make up 85 percent of human debris on shorelines across the globe, according to a 2011 study. They’re basically inescapable. So it’s not unlikely they’re finding their way into the human diet, especially in seafood.” NPR
I hope that municipalities will come up with filters that will take these fibers out of our water during sewage treatment, or filters will become available to put on our washing machines, but until then we can wash our fleece less and try to consider some alternative natural clothing like wool and cotton.
- Wash fleece less often.
- Stay informed on microfibers
- Wear cotton and wool