Clemson's Ocean Research
By now, you’ve probably heard about all the plastic particles that plague the health of our oceans, but recent research by scientists at Clemson University suggests that microplastics are only part of the story. While taking samples of more than a dozen beaches in the Southeast, scientist and associate professor at Clemson’s College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Life Sciences, Alex Chow discovered the presence of not only plastics, but sizable amounts of natural fibers as well.
Cotton, linen, silk, and wool particles appear to absorb and transport chemicals to aquatic environments. Of course, natural fibers degrade faster than plastics, but they remain long enough to have an adverse effect on aquatic life. Chow’s research is still developing, but he and his team believe these natural fibers are reaching the ocean through water discharged from household washing machines.