Airborne emissions of microplastic fibres from domestic laundry dryers

Catégorie : Détection & Caractérisation
Date :6 novembre 2020
O’Brien, Stacey; Okoffo, Elvis D.; O’Brien, Jake W.; Ribeiro, Francisca; Wang, Xianyu; Wright, Stephanie L.; Samanipour, Saer; Rauert, Cassandra; Toapanta, Tania Yessenia Alajo; Albarracin, Rizsa; Thomas, Kevin, V.
Science of The Total Environment : 747
An emission source of microplastics into the environment is laundering synthetic textiles and clothing. Mechanical drying as a pathway for emitting microplastics, however, is poorly understood. In this study, emissions of microplastic fibres were sampled from a domestic vented dryer to assess whether mechanical drying of synthetic textiles releases microplastic fibres into the surrounding air or are captured by the inbuilt filtration system. A blue polyester fleece blanket was repeatedly washed and dried using the ‘Normal Dry’ program of a common domestic dryer operated at temperatures between 56 and 59 degrees C for 20 min. Microfibres in the ambient air and during operation of the dryer were sampled and analysed using microscopy for particle quantification and characterisation followed by Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) and Pyrolysis Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (Pyr-GC/MS) for chemical characterisation. Blue fibres averaged 6.4 +/- 9.2 fibres in the room blank (0.17 +/- 0.27 fibres/m(3)), 8.8 +/- 8.5 fibres (0.05 +/- 0.05 fibres/m(3)) in the procedural blank and 58 +/- 60 (1.6 +/- 1.8 fibres/m(3)) in the sample. This is the first study to measure airborne emissions of microplastic fibres from mechanical drying, confirming that it is an emission source of microplastic fibres into air – particularly indoor air.