Could you be eating your own clothes ?

In fact, our clothes lose small pieces of plastic that can escape into the ocean and potentially enter the food chain. In practice, when we eat fish, we also eat plastic. Synthetic microfibers are found virtually everywhere in the environment, but emission pathways and quantities are poorly understood. By connecting regionalized global datasets on apparel production, use, and washing with emission and retention rates during washing, wastewater treatment, and sludge management, we estimate that 5.6 Mt of synthetic microfibers were emitted from apparel washing between 1950 and 2016.

Crédit : Plos One

In this graphique, The right columns describe compartmental, compositional, and regional characteristics of the cumulative mass of microfiber emitted by 2016. This figure shows the exponential evolution of the emissions of synthetic microfiber from 1950 to 2015. We can see that a cumulative 5.6 Mt of synthetic microfibers have been shed and emitted from combined hand and machine washing globally between 1950 and 2016.

As the global stock of synthetic fiber has grown over the years, the global amount of synthetic microfiber shedding too has increased Approximately 2.9 Mt of the synthetic microfiber emissions entered waterbodies, which is equivalent to over 7 billion fleece jackets by mass. The fiber type composition of the global cumulative synthetic microfiber emissions is 4.0 Mt polyester, 0.7 Mt polyamide, 0.5 Mt polypropylene and 0.4 Mt acrylic. Also, specialists estimates that 88% of all microfiber emissions to waterbodies were from untreated wastewater.

 

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