The effects of microfiber pollution on various ecosystems have recently become a subject of increased research. What are some things we do know?
- Microfibers are defined as fibers less than five millimeters in length, deriving from artificial, manmade or natural material.
- It is suspected that microfiber sources include laundering and atmospheric fallout since microfibers are released when textiles undergo degeneration when worn and washed.
- Microfibers reside inside marine animals in ways that microplastics do not. Such as becoming enmeshed in gastrointestinal tracts and translocated into organism circulatory system.
- Microfibers with chemical resins applied to textile induce immunity dysfunctions in animals.
- 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.