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What are the environmental impacts of micro fibers?

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The microfiber materials which are manufactured from hydrocarbons such as polyester or carbohydrates such as cellulose are flammable in nature. When microfiber made from these materials comes in contact with flame emits toxic gases. Hence they need to be treated with halogenated flame retardants and azo dyes. Even polyester and nylon use petrochemicals as their raw materials which are neither renewable nor biodegradable in nature.

Waste treatment plants are not able to filter out microfibers because they are very small in size (< 5 mm size), similar to the microplastics. Due to this they travel through water pipes and end up in oceans and rivers. During the laundering process, they have the potential of entering the oceanic water supply and food chain and are often consumed by sea animals and pollute the water. These microfibers not only kill marine life but humans also consume these marine animals with microfiber inside their bodies.

After these microfibers are inhaled by humans, they can persist in the lungs and cause inflammation. Moreover, they may also lead to severe health effects such as reproductive problems, cancer, and DNA damage. Microfibers are increasing the risk of respiratory problems.

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