NORTHAMPTON – To address the issue of microplastic pollution, Eurofins | BLC have developed a new microfibre test method that calculates and quantifies microfibre discharge from synthetic materials and clothing. The risk solution and testing specialist has said it will also collate a database of microfibre release by material so that retailers can “benchmark their products and make informed decisions about material selection.”
Microplastics are defined as plastics that are smaller than five millimetres, which can be released into water bodies through inadequate filtration in effluent treatment plants. They are generally added to care or cleaning products to provide abrasive properties however, they are also found in clothing and synthetic materials.
Through the process of washing these garments, microplastics can be released into water bodies. A significant proportion of microplastics released into water bodies especially oceans, are from synthetic fibres.
Aquatic organisms may consume microplastics due to the size of the particles, which can be mistaken for food, and therefore ingested. This can lead to the illness or deaths of the organisms and has the potential for microplastics to appear in the food chain. Filters as small as 15 microns may be required to capture adequate volumes of microfibres.