Photo: Rick

And mine is too. Maybe I was born in a barn but I didn’t realize that synthetic fleece is largely made from recycled pop bottles. I guess I just didn’t give it any mind.

According to Canadian Geographic, a recent study from the Norwegian Institute for Air Research and the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research revealed that fleece and Gore-Tex clothing is the largest contributor to over 100 million particles of microplastic ending up in the fiord at Longyearbyen, a community of 2,000 on the island of Svalbard.

One of the researchers, Jan H. Sundet, said, “There have been studies conducted about the washing of fleece and it turned out that a single washing of a fleece jacket can release thousands of tiny particles. There are a lot of microplastics that disappear out of clothes, especially fleece.”

Microplastics are a major concern as they enter the food chain through zooplankton which fish feed off of, then up the food chain. In Canada, studies done by the Vancouver Aquarium in four areas along coastal BC show heavy concentrations of microplastics. “This basically told us that humans living in coastal environments are releasing thousands of microplastics through their laundry and waste water,” said Peter Ross, director of the aquarium’s ocean pollution research program. “The problem is world-wide from the Arctic to the Antarctic, and it’s far more extensive than we imagined.”

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