(CNN)Tiny plastic particles are polluting our oceans, where they can stay for centuries, harming sea life and making their way into the human food chain. These microplastics — fragments of plastic smaller than 5mm — are often the result of bigger chunks being worn down by the elements. But a surprisingly large amount comes from people simply washing their clothes. According to Dutch campaign group Plastic Soup Foundation, with every 11 pound (5 kg) load of laundry, between 600,000 and 17 million clothes fibers are released (other research gives a number closer to the smaller of those figures) — up to 1.3 grams in weight. Read: Microplastic pollution is all around us That may not sound like much, but when you multiply it by every household wash, it adds up. It is estimated that around half a million metric tonnes of microfibers enters our oceans this way every year. Read More Although microplastics can be dangerous to some marine life, the health risk to humans is still relatively unknown. Wastewater treatment plants catch some of these fibers, trapping them among a semi-solid gunk known as sewage sludge. But in many countries this sludge is spread on fields as a fertilizer…. Read full this story
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