1st Edition

Polluting Textiles The Problem with Microfibres

    314 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    314 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book examines the critical issue of environmental pollutants produced by the textiles industry.

    Comprised of contributions from environmental scientists and materials and textiles scientists, this edited volume addresses the environmental impact of microplastics, with a particular focus on microfibres released by textiles into marine and freshwater environments. The chapters in Part I offer environmental perspectives focusing on the measurement of microplastics in the environment, their ingestion by small plankton and larger filter feeders, the effects of consuming microplastics, and the role of microplastics as a vector for transferring toxic contaminants in food webs. Written by environmental and material scientists, the chapters in Part II present potential solutions to the problem of microplastics released from textiles, discussing parameters of influence, water treatment, degradation in aquatic environments, textile end-of-life management, textile manufacturing and laundry, and possible policy measures. This is a much needed volume which brings together in one place environmental research with technical solutions in order to provide a cohesive and practical approach to mitigating and preventing environmental pollution from the textiles industry going forward.

    This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of environmental conservation and management, environmental pollution and environmental chemistry and toxicology, sustainability, as well as students and scholars of material and textiles science, textile engineering and sustainable manufacturing.

    1 Introduction to textile pollution

    Judith S. Weis, Mariacristina Cocca and Francesca De Falco

    PART 1 Environmental problems

    2 Microfibre methodologies for the field and laboratory

    Abigail P.W. Barrows and Courtney A. Neumann

    3 Animals and microplastics: ingestion, transport, breakdown, and trophic transfer

    Jennifer F. Provencher, Sarah Y. Au, Dorothy Horn, Mark L. Mallory, Tony R. Walker, Joshua Kurek, Lisa M. Erdle, Judith S. Weis, and Amy Lusher

    4 Clothes encounters of the microfibre kind: the effects of natural and synthetic textiles on organisms

    Elise F. Granek, Summer D. Traylor, Alexandra G. Tissot, Paul T. Hurst, Rosemary S. Wood, and Susanne M. Brander

    5 Toxic chemicals in textiles and the role of microplastic fibres as a source and vector for chemicals to the environment

    Bethanie Carney Almroth and Samantha Athey

    PART 2 Textile solutions

    6 Microfibre shedding from textiles during laundering: different quantification methods but common findings

    Imogen E. Napper and Richard C. Thompson

    7 Wastewater treatment approaches to remove microplastics: microfibre incidence and fate

    Daniel Sol, Amanda Laca, Adriana Laca and Mario Díaz

    8 Degradation of fibrous microplastics in the marine environment

    Christian Lott, Andreas Eich and Miriam Weber

    9 Sourcing and re-sourcing end-of-use textiles

    Wolfgang Ipsmiller and Andreas Bartl

    10 Innovative approaches to mitigate microfibre pollution

    Francesca De Falco and Mariacristina Cocca

    11 Policies and perspectives on regulating microplastic fibre pollution

    Esther Kentin and Gaia Battaglia

    12 Summary

    Judith S. Weis, Francesca De Falco and Mariacristina Cocca


    Judith S. Weis is Professor Emerita in the Department of Biological Sciences at Rutgers University, USA. She is the author/editor of over 250 scientific articles, multiple books, including Marine Pollution: What Everyone Needs to Know (2014) and Biological Invasions and Animal Behaviour (2016, with Daniel Sol).

    Francesca De Falco is Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Plymouth, UK. She holds a PhD in Industrial Products and Process Engineering from the University of Naples, Italy, with a thesis on microplastic pollution from synthetic textiles. She is author of one patent, three book chapters and 15 scientific articles with over 400 citations.

    Mariacristina Cocca is Permanent Researcher at Institute of Polymers, Composites and Biomaterials of the National Research Council of Italy. She is co-author of over 66 scientific papers, eight book chapters, four patents and was invited speaker in several national and international conferences.

    "Our field should welcome this piece of writing with open arms. Although there are many writings about microplastics, microfibers are complex and include more than just plastic materials. I’m thrilled to see a comprehensive book, covering both science and solutions for microfibers specifically, led by a wonderful team of experts." - Chelsea M. Rochman, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto, Canada

    "Microplastics are poorly understood but pose a serious environmental and public health risk. This book shines a light on the problem. Unlike what policy makers and society did with climate change, it is imperative that we listen to the scientists on this vital issue. This book will help do that." - Judith Enck, former EPA Regional Administrator and President of Beyond Plastics

    "Microfibers – a form of microplastics - present significant challenges to scientists, policymakers, and the textile industry. This comprehensive book provides a summary of the state-of-the-science of the sources, pathways, monitoring techniques, and impacts of microfibers from leading scientists in this rapidly emerging field. Potential solutions to the hazards of microfibers and their added chemicals - from upstream measures such as policy and design innovations to downstream measures such as pollution pathway controls - are critically assessed through collaborations between textile professionals and environmental scientists alike." - Scott Coffin, Research Scientist at the California State Water Resources Control Board, developing health-based regulations for microplastics

    "This book's investigation of microplastics is not only crucial for our understanding of the plastics problem for advocates and policymakers, it reveals the necessary shift textile manufacturers must make if we are to ever stop it."- Stiv WilsonCoDirector at Peak Plastic Foundation, creator The Story of Plastic film

    "For a long time, textile microfibers have been simply considered as a sub-category of microplastics, thus preventing us from fully understanding the real extent of this global pollution issue. The publication of this book by an excellent team of authors provides us for the first time with all necessary tools to better comprehend this emerging pollutant, its sources, its impacts and the relevant solutions. Shifting the focus to fibres, and finally considering them as a very specific class of contaminants, represent a much-needed groundbreaking step in the right direction." - Giuseppe Suaria, Research Scientist at CNR-ISMAR, Italy

    “There are a number of different sustainability considerations across the entire life-cycle of textiles, including environmental pollution. This book highlights one important aspect of environmental pollution from textiles: microplastic fibers. Featuring prominent scientists in the field today, a wide array of problems and solutions are addressed in this collection which can serve as an important resource for those interested in reducing the negative environmental impacts of textiles from a number of different viewpoints.” - Denise Mitrano, Professor, Department of Environmental Systems Science, ETH Zürich, Switzerland

    "Microfibers are a small but ubiquitous pollutant just under our radar that escapes readily into the atmosphere, posing a serious threat to our environment and health of all organisms great and small. Similar to asbestos, studies have found that ingested and inhaled microplastics and microfibers get into cells and tissues and can cause harm. This book gives us a deeper understanding of problems posed by these tiny textile fragments, and shares practical solutions, from material redesign to particle capture. More importantly, it confirms without a doubt the need to classify problematic plastics as the hazardous waste that it is." - Jackie Nuñez, Founder, The Last Plastic Straw, and Advocacy & Engagement Manager, Plastic Pollution Coalition