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Washing clothes releases thousands of microplastic particles into environment

Tuesday, October 4, 2016 10:42
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(Before It's News)

More than 700,000 microscopic fibres could be released into waste water during each use of a domestic washing machine, with many of them likely to pass through sewage treatment and into the environment, according to new research.

A study by Plymouth University examined the mass, abundance and size of fibres present in waste effluent following washes of synthetic fabrics at standard temperatures of 30˚C and 40˚C.

It found hundreds of thousands of tiny synthetic particles could be released in each wash, confirming earlier work at Plymouth University that the washing of clothes is a major source of microscopic fibres within the aquatic environment.

The research, published in Marine Pollution Bulletin, was led by PhD student Imogen Napper in conjunction with Professor Richard Thompson, who is a leading international expert on microplastics and marine debris having worked in the field for more than 20 years.

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