Cleaning clothes dirties oceans

Washing polyester fabrics sends plastics to sea

By Stephen Ornes, 16:50 PM October 5, 2011


It’s easy to pollute coastal areas, even for people who live far from the beach. All it takes are a washing machine and polyester clothes.

Polyester is everywhere: The plastic fabric can be used to make fleeces, shirts, pants, furniture and blankets. It’s synthetic, which means it’s created from chemicals in a lab to resemble something natural. Scientists recently found that polyester clothes shed plastic fibers while in the washing machine. During the rinse cycle, these microscopic threa...

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