OIA Priority Issues Brief – Microfibers

June 21, 2016

Plastics of various sizes are being discovered in waterways and marine life, at levels and in places not previously realized. The presence of plastic debris poses dramatic changes and risk to the marine ecosystems; for example, small plastic particles and fibers can be ingested by aquatic life, not only harming the animals themselves, but passing the plastic through the food chain.

A relatively new and emerging sub-category of marine plastic study is microfibers – tiny fibers (comprised of both synthetic and natural materials) thought to be released into waterways when apparel products are washed by consumers. The outdoor industry is being looked to as a potential source of microfibers due in large part to the fleece garments that are made by many outdoor companies.