A recent Catalyst program aired on the 15th of March interviewed ecologist Dr Mark Brown and ecotoxicologist Dr Chelsea Rochman, they looked at plastics in our oceans and where they are mainly coming from. They first discussed the use of micro beads in beauty products and how they are getting washed straight down our drains and directly into our rivers and oceans, a number of supermarkets have reacted to this find by banning any beauty products that contain these tiny bits of plastic.
Did you know that 85% of plastic in our environment is actually micro plastic? This is from things like mirco beads but also a number of larger bits of plastics that are breaking down into smaller pieces. The most alarming discovery however was that the most common micro plastics they were finding were from synthetic fibres such as nylon and polyester. They traced these back to the textile industry, two thirds of all clothing is now made from synthetic materials. Up to 2000 of these plastic fibres can be released into our environment per wash per item of clothing!
All these fibres/micro plastics that are washed into our environment are being eaten by our marine life, in Sydney Harbour it was found that one Mullet was eating one micro plastic particle every three to four days. Subsequently we are eating these chemical plastics and the toxic load they carry through our seafood. These toxins will store themselves in fat cells if the liver is overloaded and unable to process them, if these chemicals are storing themselves in our seafood it begs the question what affect this is having on our bodies?
After seeing this program I happened to find myself shopping with my 15 year old daughter, we decided to read the labels on every item of clothing we were considering buying to see how many were made from unnatural fibres. We were shocked to find that about 80% of what we picked up was made from polyester. At ecoo we stock bamboo and organic cotton clothing as the process to get it from earth to shelf is better for the environment, we are extremely pleased to know that it is also much better for the environment during the process of wearing and finally discarding it!
Further viewing http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/4424996.htm