Happy Earth Week! Recently, a few stories about harmful particles have popped up in my feeds, but sustainability seems to be the answer. The Hill featured a short article about how your dryer's filter may not be fine enough to prevent microfibers from venting into the air around your home. My family mostly works from home, so can get away with hang drying clothing. I say this because during the cold months, air-dried clothes tend to have a subtle smell when they're ready to wear. Fortunately, we're fast approaching great air-drying weather here in the PNW, an easy way to reduce carbon footprints.
[Credit: Oregon State University, Snemann]
NPR also has an article about microplastics released in baby bottles and hot drinks. The reports feature huge numbers in their findings the average infant consumes more than 1.5 million microplastics particles per day. Yikes! To give perspective, they also mention that pouring boiling water over those pyramid teabags (made out of plastic) releases billions of microparticles, but tea drinkers aren't exactly keeling over. So, when you pour the hot water into plastic, particles come off and again when you shake it up. The article says there's no need to suddenly switch over to breastfeeding or glass baby formula bottles (like other countries use), and that concerned parents can take two extra steps to minimize this inevitable effect of plastic and heat. First, prepare the formula in a glass container, and transfer it to the bottle after it cools to the appropriate temperature. Second, when it's time to clean the bottle, rinse out a heat-sterilized bottle with sterile room-temperature water 3 times before allowing to dry. However, I respect that parents rarely have time to always do this.
Speaking of time luxuries, the article warns that microwaving things in plastic containers is another common way that we are generating these particles to be ingested. If you haven't already loaded up on glass/ceramic bakeware and cookware, take advantage of moving sales, thrift stores and garage sales!
I brought all of this up due to ANOTHER recent article about microplastics being found in the lungs of living people. Yikes. "Microplastics can range from 10 nanometers — smaller than the human eye can see — to 5 millimeters in diameter." While we can mitigate ingesting them by the above solutions, we've been wearing another solution to inhaling them for the last 2 years to fight off something else. Bonus pollen protection for those of you who are doing outside work with a mask as well!