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Catalog – Technical Sciences – Dryers are the main source of airborne microfibers

Dryers are among the main sources of plastic microfiber pollution in the atmosphere, according to Hong Kong researchers: One machine can release 120 million microplastic microfibers into the air each year, MTI writes.

According to Kenneth Leung, director of the State Key Marine Pollution Laboratory (SKLMP) and the Department of Chemistry at the University of Hong Kong, their findings are essential to managing microfiber emissions. These pollutants are also known to be harmful to human health and the environment.

Once we know the source, there are simple ways to combat pollution

Leung said Environmental science and technology messages Lead author of a study published in a scientific journal.

Microfibers are pieces of microplastic less than 5 mm in length. These fibers are emitted from the material as a result of friction during washing and drying. Due to its small size, it passes through a dryer filter and is released into the environment, where it appears in water, in food, but also in the placenta, the Guardian writes.

These plastic particles are also found in regions of the world far from civilization, in the Antarctic and high in the troposphere of the Earth.

In their studies, researchers mechanically dried polyester and cotton clothes in 15 to 15 minute cycles and measured the number of microfibers that passed through the filter. They estimate that 90-120 million microfibers are produced each year in the dryer and released into the air.

Leung explained that natural materials such as cotton also emit microfibers, but they can be digested by animals and degrade relatively quickly in the environment.

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Scientists have designed simple 3D-printed filters that prevent microfibers from spreading through the vent system’s vents.

However, it is not yet clear what happens to microplastics when cleaning filters.