(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

Parent concerned over privacy breach is a candidate for Chilliwack school board

Brian Mielke said sharing of student names with U.S. research firm shows trustees disregarding law

Chilliwack athletes run in the rain at first cross-country race

Dozens of elementary/middle/high schoolers tackled a mucky course next to Twin Rinks last Thursday.

Fraser River First Nations say they aren’t getting their share of sockeye

Shortage is a result of decisions made by DFO, not a shortage of sockeye, complaint says

Chilliwack Chiefs benefit from BCHL Showcase exposure

Carter Wilkie’s first BCHL goal Saturday against Wenatchee earned him talks with several NCAA scouts.

Surging Okanagan Sun stop slumping Valley Huskers

A blocked punt set the tone for the Sun in a BC Football Conference game at the Apple Bowl.

Video: Flyers new mascot ‘Gritty’ a bearded, googly-eyed terror

The Philadelphia Flyers unveiled their new mascot Monday, and as one would expect of the team that gave us the “Broad Street Bullies,” he’s far from cuddly.

Harvest Moon to light up B.C. skies with an ‘autumn hue’

It’s the first moon after the autumn equinox

Hockey league gets $1.4M for assistance program after Humboldt Broncos crash

Program will help players, families, coaches and volunteers after the shock of the deadly crash

Canada has removed six out of 900 asylum seekers already facing U.S. deportation

Ottawa had said the ‘overwhelming majority’ had been removed

Appeal pipeline decision but consult Indigenous communities, Scheer says

The federal appeals court halted the Trans Mountain expansion last month

B.C. electric vehicle subsidy fund drains faster than expected

Province adds another $10 million to incentive fund

‘I’ll never forgive you:’ Victim impact statements at hearing for Calgary killer

Curtis Healy was found guilty of first-degree murder Friday in the death of Dawns Baptiste.

Man accused of mailing bomb to his brother in B.C. has died

Leon Nepper was found in ‘medical distress’ at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre on Sunday

Most Read