University of Toronto researchers are looking into the effects of the billions of environmentally harmful microfibres that end up in Toronto’s wastewater system, CityNews reports.
The tiny synthetic particles end up in the wastewater after being shed from fabrics laundered in washing machines. Lisa Erdle, a PhD candidate in the lab of Assistant Professor Chelsea Rochman in the department of ecology and evolutionary biology, told CityNews microfibers “can have physical or chemical impacts on wildlife when they enter the food web.”
The researchers estimated that up to 36 trillion microfibres go into the wastewater system every year. While wastewater treatment plants remove up to 99 per cent of the microfibres, the researchers say that still leaves billions of them in the environment.
The effect on humans is unknown. “The research is just beginning in looking into human health,” Eridle said.