Micro Fiber Pollution

The effects of microfiber pollution on various ecosystems have recently become a subject of increased research. What are some things we do know?

  1. Microfibers are defined as fibers less than five millimeters in length, deriving from artificial, manmade or natural material. 
  2. It is suspected that microfiber sources include laundering and atmospheric fallout since microfibers are released when textiles undergo degeneration when worn and washed. 
  3. Microfibers reside inside marine animals in ways that microplastics do not. Such as becoming enmeshed in gastrointestinal tracts and translocated into organism circulatory system. 
  4. Microfibers with chemical resins applied to textile induce immunity dysfunctions in animals. 
  5. Microfiber resins could contaminate larger organisms through bioaccumulating and disrupt the food web. 

Despite microfiber widespread detection in animals, oceans, and the atmosphere, there is a lack of conclusive research identifying sources of microfiber pollution. The diagram I designed below is intended to help breakdown the complexity of microfiber pollution. But all designers should be considering how their textiles are contributing to this macro-problem.

Graphic developed by: Maggie Carlson

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