DOI: 10.3390/microplastics3010005 ISSN: 2673-8929

A Feasible and Efficient Monitoring Method of Synthetic Fibers Released during Textile Washing

Oskar Świątek, Agnieszka Dąbrowska
  • General Medicine

Microfibers (MFs) are one of the most common and hazardous forms of microplastic found in the aquatic environment. The methods of collecting and analyzing MFs released during washing have to be developed and standardized to understand and model the process of microfibers’ emission better. This study tests a new, innovative method to check if laundry fiber sampling can be approached comprehensively. Pieces of synthetic materials (aged and new polyester, polyester-cotton blend) were placed in chromium-nickel filters envelope-like folded. Then, textile weathering during washing was monitored by the quality and quantity of fibers found directly on the filter surface. Laundry parameters like temperature, detergent presence, and filter size were changed, and results were monitored by Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), a well-known standard in microplastic identification. In addition, ATR spectra were collected to characterize the materials in detail and evaluate their aging level. Spectroscopy can be used to detect and examine both mechanical and chemical degradation, and the collected microfibers can be assigned to the material they come from. Finally, a quantitative comparison of fibers released during different washing conditions can be used for the process optimization to minimize its environmental impact.

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