The Hidden Dangers in Clothes to Oceans and Food Supplies

Posted: Aug 01 2016


The increasing interest and concern about the food that we eat and the wider impact of our actions on the environment has led to focused studies being conducted on our food supplies from waterways. Alarmingly recent studies have highlighted that staggering numbers of tiny fibres from synthetic fabrics are finding their way from our washing machines into fish and other wildlife.

Recent research has found that dissected fish are suffering from interwoven fibres throughout their gastrointestinal tract, which as well as causing significant harm and discomfort to the fish, has a significant impact on our own food chains.

Scientist believe that this happens because when our clothes are washed tiny fibres are released and the drained water carries them into our water systems which are then consumed by the waterlife, or found on the shorelines, left to destroy the environment. 

It is believed that of the millions of microfibers that enter our local waterway treatment plants, up to 40% make their way into rivers, lakes and seas. These alarming figures are a great cause of concern as synthetic microfibers are potentially very dangerous and potential to poison our food chain. The more fibers consumed by fish and wildlife, they more that enter our human food supplies.

These fibres have the potential to bioaccumulate which means that the toxins in the body of larger animals which are higher up the food chain become more concentrated and therefore potentially cause greater damage.

Tests have been carried out across the globe to understand the potential dangers and these show that fish examined in the East have greater numbers of plastic fibres in their system, whereas those in the West suffer from fabric fibres. The likelihood is that this is because of the extensive reliance and use of washing machines throughout the West in comparison to Eastern countries.

Many businesses are tailoring their practices to counteract environmental vulnerabilities and to minimise their impact on the environment but there is still much more that needs to be done.

Scientists are currently looking into ways to reduce the percentage of fibers that make their way through to our waterways and one possibility that has arisen is the waterless washing machine. With the help from one of our brands Patagonia, Tersus Solutions have developed a washing machine where clothes are washed using pressurized carbon dioxide rather than water!

With top brands and scientists working together we hope that a suitable solution is found quickly in order to save our waterlife, food chains and environment!



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