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Microfiber Shedding: Hidden Environmental Impact

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If a ray of sunlight shines through a window and one looks closely, there are many small fibers, or microfibers, floating in the air. They may be synthetic in origin or natural fibers such as cotton, wool, or hair; however, most are shed from textile materials used in our homes and clothing. While somewhat ethereal when revealed by a sunbeam, once microfibers enter the water system through cleaning or rainfall, they are swept into our streams and oceans and become part of the aquatic environment. Many of these synthetic microfibers, just like larger pieces of plastic waste, are not biodegradable. They are migrating across the globe and creating what Nicholas Mallos, director of the Trash Free Seas Program at the Ocean Conservancy, describes as, "one of the most abundant sources of plastic pollution in the ocean."
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2017

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