Are Fibers From Your Jacket Winding Up in Your Seafood?

Are Fibers From Your Jacket Winding Up in Your Seafood?

Following a high-fiber diet just took on a whole new meaning. 

By Bryce Gruber

We're all in favor of eating high-fiber foods, but this isn't quite what we had in mind. Research shows that some of the seafood we're eating contains plastic or fibers, which means we're getting a lot more than we bargained for when we order that seafood platter.

A 2015 study found that about 25 percent of all the seafood samples they tested had plastic fragments or textile fibers in their digestive tracts. It's obvious where the plastic is coming from; we've all seen empty water bottles and other plastic debris washed up on shore. But what's the source of all this fiber?

Your super-cozy fleece jacket could be the culprit.

2011 study showed that synthetic fibers from fleece clothing make up 85 percent of human debris on beaches across the planet, and have even been reported in table salt in China. Manufactured textiles like nylon and synthetic fleece don't biodegrade in short periods of time, meaning they have the potential to float around our waters for decades before decomposing. If fleece fibers are popping up in our oceans, our salt, and our fish, it's not unrealistic we're noshing on them, too. This isn't from tossing our jackets into the ocean, either—it's from our everyday wearing and washing.

NPR reported that each machine-washed fleece jacket sheds up to two grams of microfibers, most of which float down our drains and into the environment with little filtering or elimination. Some popular fleece jacket companies, like Patagonia, are even partnering with research groups to figure out how wildlife may be affected by fleece fiber runoff.

The good news? Most of the fibers found in your oysters, clams, mussels, and other shellfish are likely BPA-free. Small victories.

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