Synthetic Fabrics have Surprising Consequences
Last year my oldest son suggested that, if I was going to buy him clothes for a present, he would like them to be all organic cotton. This prompted a discussion of synthetics and of course Blake knew just where to point me for more info. As I found out, fibers from washing machines are polluting the water supplies with miniscule threads of plastic that seep through filters and escape into the environment. This is not a small problem. In one test, of the almost 2,000 aquatic samples which were processed, 90% of the debris was microfibers – both in freshwater and the ocean. Marine microplastics can penetrate the cells of even the tiniest organisms, raising all sorts of health concerns for both sea creatures and the people that eat them.
Here's more terrifying details from an article in The Guardian:
"In an alarming study released Monday, researchers at the University of California at Santa Barbara found that, on average, synthetic fleece jackets release 1.7 grams of microfibers each wash. It also found that older jackets shed almost twice as many fibers as new jackets. The study was funded by outdoor clothing manufacturer Patagonia, a certified B Corp that also offers grants for environmental work.
'These microfibers then travel to your local wastewater treatment plant, where up to 40% of them enter rivers, lakes and oceans,' according to findings published on the researchers’ website....In a groundbreaking 2011 paper, Mark Browne, now a senior research associate at the University of New South Wales, Australia, found that microfibers made up 85% of human-made debris on shorelines around the world."
My conversation with Blake prompted a complete overhaul for me. First, I pared down my entire wardrobe to 27 pieces of clothing. This was a huge feat and felt so liberating. My husband and I share a very small closet and my clothing used to flow over into several other closets in our house. No more! Next I went through the fiber content and found that most of my clothes were indeed natural and not synthetic but I got rid of the few items that were. I did not give them away. This was painful for me, but knowing they would be contributing to the problem with each washing was the deciding factor. Now everything I purchase will be of natural materials.
The next problem was.....leather. OMG! I have so many leather shoes and what I found is horrifying and deserves its own post. Coming soon.