What are the environmental impacts of acrylic?
Acrylic fabric is a synthetic fabric and has various impacts on the environment which can be broken down into the following subheads:
• Decomposition: The acrylic fibers are non-biodegradable and difficult to decompose. The acrylic fibers have the ability to exist in the environment for about 200 years.
• Production Process: The manufacturing of acrylic fiber involves the use of toxic chemicals and volatile substances that have the ability to harm the environment if not handled carefully and thus their disposal must be carefully monitored. In addition, the volatile substance can penetrate into the fields thus harming crop cultivation in terms of yield.
• Environment Pollution: Acrylic fibers have the ability to pill (small balls of broken fibers) on washing. The tiny balls of fibers produced during washing enter the water system and pollute the water and surrounding. These fiber fragments are difficult to filter and recycle.
• Health Hazards: The polymer of acrylic is polyacrylonitrile which is flammable in nature and thus the fabric is finished with a flame retardant that is organophosphate to avoid any sort of mishappening. However, there is a certain health risk associated with acrylic fiber that is these polymers are considered to be carcinogenic as per the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and are responsible for causing cancer and skin related disorders.