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Freshwater and airborne textile fibre populations are dominated by ‘natural’, not microplastic, fibres

Stanton, Thomas; Johnson, Matthew; Nathanail, Paul; MacNaughtan, William; Gomes, Rachel L.

Authors

Thomas Stanton

Paul Nathanail

William MacNaughtan

RACHEL GOMES rachel.gomes@nottingham.ac.uk
Professor of Water & Resource Processing



Abstract

The potential role of natural textile fibres as environmental pollutants has been speculated upon by some environmental scientists, however, there is a general consensus that their biodegradability reduces their environmental threat. Whilst the risks that they pose remain poorly understood, their environmental prevalence has been noted in several recent microplastic pollution manuscripts. Here we highlight the extent to which natural textile fibres dominate fibre populations of upstream reaches of the River Trent, UK, as well as the atmospheric deposition within its catchment, over a twelve month microplastic sampling campaign. Across 223 samples, natural textile fibres represented 93.8% of the textile fibre population quantified. Moreover, though microplastic particles including synthetic fibres are known to be pervasive environmental pollutants, extruded textile fibres were absent from 82.8% of samples. Natural textile fibres were absent from just 9.7% of samples.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date May 20, 2019
Journal Science of The Total Environment
Print ISSN 0048-9697
Electronic ISSN 1879-1026
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 666
Pages 377-389
APA6 Citation Stanton, T., Johnson, M., Nathanail, P., MacNaughtan, W., & Gomes, R. L. (2019). Freshwater and airborne textile fibre populations are dominated by ‘natural’, not microplastic, fibres. Science of the Total Environment, 666, 377-389. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.02.278
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.02.278
Keywords Textile fibres; Microplastic; Temporal variation; Atmospheric deposition; Surface water; Wastewater
Publisher URL https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969719307764?via%3Dihub
Additional Information This article is maintained by: Elsevier; Article Title: Freshwater and airborne textile fibre populations are dominated by ‘natural’, not microplastic, fibres; Journal Title: Science of The Total Environment; CrossRef DOI link to publisher maintained version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.02.278; Content Type: article; Copyright: © 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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