A post of mine some months back “How to Wash Your Fleece Clothing So It Doesn’t Pollute” addressed the problem of microfibers entering the water supply from our home laundry. The agitation of clothes in a washing machine loosens minuscule fibers (less than 5 mm in length) and releases them into the soapy water. From there if they are not captured by a wastewater treatment plant they enter the water supply to be ingested by organisms including ourselves.
A 2011 study headed by Australian ecologist Mark Anthony Browne documented that 85 percent of the human-made debris found on shorelines throughout the world are microfibers from nylon and acrylic used to make clothing. Studies have reported that some 1,900 to 250,000 individual fibers are rinsed off a single synthetic jacket per washing. Researchers found that older jackets shed more fibers than newer ones and concluded that laundering 100,000 jackets per year, release into public waterways the equivalent of the amount of plastic in up to 11,900 grocery bags.”
Now studies have found that household dryers are even worse culprits releasing microfibers into the air.
A study “Microfibers Released into the Air from a Household Tumble Dryer,” confirms that tumble dryers do play a major role in releasing textile microfibers into the ambient atmosphere, especially when clothes are dried at high temperatures. They exit the dryer vent where they can then can be inhaled directly by humans and other animals. This is not healthy for anyone!
What to do?
- *Wash all fleece in a mesh bag, a Guppyfriend, or a produce type bag if nothing else.
- *Air dry all fleece. Use a shower rail or get a folding clothing rack.
- *Skip buying fleece and go to more natural fibers like wool or cotton. Too expensive? Buy at your local thrift store.