Microfibres: A study published in the scientific journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters indicates household clothes dryers are released microfibres into the environment. Waste includes microplastics, which come off synthetic materials such as polyester.
It is estimated that a tumble dryer frees up to 120 million microfibres per year. They would break due to the friction between the parts drying in the machine, and then they would be released into the atmosphere through the air tube.
The researchers analyzed the drying of cotton and polyester garments, done separately for 15 minutes. The microfibres that were detached from the tissues were collected and counted.
The more polyester garments in the dryer, the greater the release of microfibres into the atmosphere. For cotton articles, the amount of particles remains constant; this would be the result of the union of the material, making it impossible to stay in the air.
The release of microfibres is harmful to the environment
Washing machines are already known to release microfibres and microplastics through their wash water. This research shows that the dryer emits even more particles into the environment than the washing machine.
The microfibres and microplastics are transported outside through the air hose from the dryer. Ventilated air is usually untreated – so the particles go straight into the air and can carry pollutants with them that travel long distances.
Microplastics are not only harmful to nature, but can also be accidentally inhaled or ingested, threatening the health of humans and animals. There is a growing body of research on its harmful effects, including the potential for an increased risk of cancer.
Alternative textile materials have been explored with the aim of producing more sustainable and sustainable fabrics. Meanwhile, the study suggests using machine-adapted filters as a short-term solution, reducing the release of microfibres and their adverse effects on health and the environment.