Microfiber Masses Recovered from Conventional Machine Washing of New or Aged Garments

  • Niko L. Hartline, Nicholas J. Bruce, Stephanie N. Karba, Elizabeth O. Ruff, Shreya U. Sonar, Patricia A. Holden
  • Environmental Science & Technology, November 2016, American Chemical Society (ACS)
  • DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b03045

Synthetic microfibers released during clothes washing are quantified

What is it about?

This article newly reveals the abundance of synthetic microfibers that can be released from common clothing during ordinary household clothes washing.

Why is it important?

Microplastics are now understood to be important pollutants in marine and freshwater environments. Synthetic microfibers may be a very large component of microplastics. However, this area of concern is new. The publication reports a study that quantified microfibers released from what we all do: washing clothes. The report suggests an urgent need for more research into the origins, fates, and effects of synthetic microfibers in the environment.


Dr. Patricia A Holden
University of California,Santa Barbara

The issue of synthetic microfibers as pollutants is still relatively unexplored. This research, and similar research by others, indicates the importance of this issue. Future research should regard how water and food sources are potentially impaired, including direct effects of microfibers, microfibers as carriers of other pollutants, and broad effects on natural ecosystems that in turn can impact human health.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr. Patricia A Holden