When scientists started studying the impact of plastics in the ocean during the last decade, they relied on nets designed to trawl for plankton, which missed the microfibers. Today, researchers are also using the “grab sample” method: They fill a jar with water and then determine the chemical makeup using spectroscopy technology that measures matter with electromagnetic radiation.
“This is something that’s growing in our collective consciousness,” Ms. Kosuth said. “We have a pretty good body of research that these particles are ubiquitous.” This year she tested a sample of her backyard snow and now forbids her two young children from catching snowflakes on their tongues.
But researchers still have a long way to go to prove that all these fibers are hurting human or animal health.
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