(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

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message: Campbell River RCMP

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Island Highway intersection saw the most crashes in Campbell River – ICBC

Dozens of accidents at Highway 19A and Dogwood Street between 2013 and 2017, according to crash map

More sailings coming to 10 BC Ferries’ routes

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said the sailings were originally cut in 2014

Federal fisheries minister calls for precautionary approach to fish farming

Government still reviewing Federal Court’s decision on PRV – Wilkinson

Spring fishery closures mulled for south coast

Fewer fish are returning to rivers and more conservation needed, say feds

VIDEO: Campbell River students join Sylas Thompson’s polar bear swim campaign

Ocean Grove Elementary students took the plunge as funds exceeded $18,000

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Skier dies at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Cause of death for young man has not been released

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

Most Read