Humans, fish and other animals are consuming microfibers in food and water

Photography by Mark Brown, courtesy of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health

It’s 7:48 pm on January 8, 2018, and rain is quenching San Mateo, California’s parched suburban streets. I park my car and don my waterproof jacket and pants, yank on knee-high plastic rain boots, and trudge over to Carolynn Box, science programs director for the 5 Gyres Institute, and Diana Lin, environmental scientist with the San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI).

Standing on a footbridge over San Mateo Creek, we are all wrapped, head to toe, in foul weather gear — all of it plastic in one textile form or another.

Box plunges a rigid plastic tube into the swiftly moving creek as Lin turns on a pump. Making a loud wamp-wamp-wamp sound, like a sewing machine, it slurps up a 5-gallon (19-liter) sample of water from the swiftly moving stream. A passerby inquires what we’re up to. Someone quips, “We’re bottling water to sell it!” Everyone chuckles.

In fact, the creek sampling is part of a two-year research project in which SFEI and 5 Gyres are analyzing microplastics — synthetic fragments 5 millimeters (0.2 inches) or smaller — in […]

More about microplastics:

Microplastics found in more than 90% of bottled water, study says

Proving Terrible For the Marine Life: Microplastics

Microplastic contamination: Plastic fibres found in tap water around the world

Why microplastic debris may be the next big threat to our seas

Summary
Humans, fish and other animals are consuming microfibers in our food and water
Article Name
Humans, fish and other animals are consuming microfibers in our food and water
Description
The sampling is part of a 2-year project analyzing microplastics - synthetics 5 millimeters (0.2 inches) or smaller - being released into San Francisco Bay.
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ensia
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