the neurotoxin in your Dungeness crab
, and the drought that's killing off the salmon population. Our delicious friends from the deep now face another threat, according to researchers at the University of California, Davis — your clothes and your washing machine.
Plastic microfibers were found in the guts of a quarter of fish caught off of Half Moon Bay in a recent study, according to a recent review led by researcher Chelsea Rochman, a postdoctoral fellow at UC Davis.
The study was published in September, but is making the rounds again now.
According to another Davis professor interviewed by ABC-7,
80 percent of the plastic found in fish is believed to come from the synthetic fabric found in nearly everything we wear these days.
And this is not due to a great Lululemon patch off of Hawaii
. The fabric in the fish, according to the researchers, ended up in the ocean thanks to our washing machines.
In addition to freeing socks back into the wild, every time you wash your clothes, tiny microfibers come loose. Just one cycle for a fleece jacket, set of yoga clothes, or Under Armor whatever can release more than 1,900 microfibers, according to the researchers.
And after discharge from your home or laundromat, the graywater from washing machines ends up in the city's combined sewer-stormwater system, which eventually dumps the water back into the ocean — without removing the fibers, according to Susan Williams, a UC Davis professor interviewed by ABC-7.
Apparently, the microfibers are so small that the filters in use at treatment plants are no use at all.
So what does the plastic in our fish do to us when we consume it? Scientists aren't sure. But Williams told the TV station that it could soon be time to test fish for plastic contamination as well as mercury and deadly bacteria.
In the meantime, every time you slip on a nice, fresh synthetic garment, you now have cause to feel guilty.
You knew about the mercury in your ahi tuna,