Emissions of microplastic fibers from microfiber fleece during domestic washing

Microplastics are found in marine and freshwater environments; however, their specific sources are not yet well understood. Understanding sources will be of key importance in efforts to reduce emissions into the environment. We examined the emissions of microfibers from domestic washing of a new microfiber polyester fleece textile. Analyzing released fibers collected with a 200 μm filter during 10 mild, successive washing cycles showed that emission initially decreased and then stabilized at approx. 0.0012 wt%. This value is our estimation for the long-term release of fibers during each washing. Use of detergent and softener did not significantly influence emission. Release of fibers during tumble drying was approx. 3.5 times higher than during washing.

U. Pirc, M. Vidmar, A. Mozer, A. Kržan, Environmental Science and Pollution Research, November 2016, Volume 23, Issue 21, pp 22206–22211

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