Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Home washing machines: Source of potentially harmful ocean 'microplastic' pollution

Date:
October 20, 2011
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Scientists are reporting that household washing machines seem to be a major source of so-called "microplastic" pollution -- bits of polyester and acrylic smaller than the head of a pin -- that they now have detected on ocean shorelines worldwide.

Scientists are reporting that household washing machines seem to be a major source of so-called "microplastic" pollution -- bits of polyester and acrylic smaller than the head of a pin -- that they now have detected on ocean shorelines worldwide.
Credit: Alexandr Denisenko / Fotolia

Scientists are reporting that household washing machines seem to be a major source of so-called "microplastic" pollution -- bits of polyester and acrylic smaller than the head of a pin -- that they now have detected on ocean shorelines worldwide.

Related Articles


Their report describing this potentially harmful material appears in ACS' journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Mark Browne and colleagues explain that the accumulation of microplastic debris in marine environments has raised health and safety concerns. The bits of plastic contain potentially harmful ingredients which go into the bodies of animals and could be transferred to people who consume fish. Ingested microplastic can transfer and persist into their cells for months. How big is the problem of microplastic contamination? Where are these materials coming from? To answer those questions, the scientists looked for microplastic contamination along 18 coasts around the world and did some detective work to track down a likely source of this contamination.

They found more microplastic on shores in densely populated areas, and identified an important source -- wastewater from household washing machines. They point out that more than 1,900 fibers can rinse off of a single garment during a wash cycle, and these fibers look just like the microplastic debris on shorelines. The problem, they say, is likely to intensify in the future, and the report suggests solutions: "Designers of clothing and washing machines should consider the need to reduce the release of fibers into wastewater and research is needed to develop methods for removing microplastic from sewage."

The authors acknowledge funding from Leverhulme Trust, EICC (University of Sydney) and Hornsby Shire Council.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mark Anthony Browne, Phillip Crump, Stewart J. Niven, Emma Teuten, Andrew Tonkin, Tamara Galloway, Richard Thompson. Accumulation of Microplastic on Shorelines Woldwide: Sources and Sinks. Environmental Science & Technology, 2011; 111004074039000 DOI: 10.1021/es201811s

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Home washing machines: Source of potentially harmful ocean 'microplastic' pollution." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111020024836.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2011, October 20). Home washing machines: Source of potentially harmful ocean 'microplastic' pollution. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111020024836.htm
American Chemical Society. "Home washing machines: Source of potentially harmful ocean 'microplastic' pollution." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111020024836.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) For the first time Monterey Bay Aquarium recorded a video of the elusive, creepy and rarely seen anglerfish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Buffalo Residents Digging Out, Helping out

Raw: Buffalo Residents Digging Out, Helping out

AP (Nov. 22, 2014) Hundreds of volunteers joined a 'shovel brigade' in Buffalo, New York on Saturday, as the city was living up to its nickname, "The City of Good Neighbors." Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Toyota presented its hydrogen fuel-cell compact car called "Mirai" to US consumers at the Los Angeles auto show. The car should go on sale in 2015 for around $60.000. It combines stored hydrogen with oxygen to generate its own power. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) In a blog post, Google said its balloons have traveled 3 million kilometers since the start of Project Loon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins