(Pixabay)

Your laundry could be hurting the oceans, study finds

71 per cent of microplastics in Metro Vancouver waters come from clothing

When’s the last time you thought about how you wash your clothes?

It’s something you should consider, according to a joint study from Ocean Wise and Metro Vancouver, because the way you do your laundry could have negative effects on ocean wildlife.

The study, published last week, found that 71 per cent of what ended up in the region’s wastewater plants were fibres such as polyester and modified cellulose, or rayon.

READ MORE: Scientists find microplastics in B.C. water samples, launch campaign

READ MORE: Research needed on impact of microplastics on B.C. shellfish industry

Although wastewater plants filter out nearly 99 per cent of the 1.8 trillion microplastic particles that go down the drain in Metro Vancouver each year, a “significant amount” still makes it into the oceans.

“Every time clothing is washed, tiny strands of fabric break off and go down the drain,” said principal investigator Dr. Peter Ross, vice-president of research at Ocean Wise.

“Research has shown that microplastics in the ocean are being mistaken for food by zooplankton and fish, raising concerns about impacts to their health.”

The study authors found that people could reduce how much their clothing sheds in the wash by:

  • Doing laundry less frequently when possible
  • Using front-loading laundry machines
  • Using cold water
  • Using less soap
  • Installing a lint trap or lint filter on your washing machine’s discharge hose

@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Long-awaited Campbell River mountain bike park close to beginning ‘Phase 1’

‘There seems to be a disconnect between where it’s at and where people think it’s at’

Campbell River’s ‘school of hack’ gives kids inside computing edge

Teachers take ‘hacking’ back to its roots with school program

UPDATED: Man survived for ‘days’ trapped in smashed truck north of Campbell River

Duncan Moffat, 23, found by hunter beside Hwy. 19 near Sayward

Gas prices on Vancouver Island to drop six cents

But a ‘volatile’ market could lead to increases in the coming weeks

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Drug-related deaths double for B.C. youth in care, advocate says

Teens say positive connections with adults key to recovery

Oyster River Fire Rescue qualifies for improved water supply service

Oyster River Fire Rescue has successfully qualified for Superior Tanker Shuttle Service.… Continue reading

Children’s strawberry-flavoured medicines recalled due to faulty safety cap

Three different acetaminophen syrups part of nationwide recall

Around the BCHL: Junior A cities to host World Junior tuneup games

Around the BCHL is a look at what’s happening in the league and around the junior A world.

International students hit hard by B.C. tuition fee hikes

Campaign seeks regulatory controls be imposed on post-secondary institutions

Trudeau pushes for more Saudi accountability in Khashoggi killing

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada is still seeking clear answers from Saudi Arabia about what happened to Jamal Khashoggi

School bullying video shows how people with disabilities are devalued: advocates

Brett Corbett, who has cerebral palsy, is seen in a video being stepped while lying in water

CFL will use extra on-field official to watch for illegal blows to quarterback

If the extra official sees an illegal blow that has not already been flagged, they will advise the head referee, who can then assess a penalty for roughing the passer

Most Read