The Hudson River in New York is the focus of a new study on microfibers conducted by Adventure Scientists Principal Investigator and College of the Atlantic <a href="/academics/graduate-program/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">MPhil</a> ’18 candidate Abigail Barrows.The Hudson River in New York is the focus of a new study on microfibers conducted by Adventure Scientists Principal Investigator and College of the Atlantic MPhil ’18 candidate Abigail Barrows.

The faded, “distressed look” of a favorite pair of blue jeans, may come with a hidden price for the residents of New York.

Abigail Barrows MPhil ’18.Abigail Barrows MPhil ’18.The Hudson River dumps 300 million clothing fibers into the Atlantic Ocean each day, according to a recent study in the Marine Pollution Bulletin. Many of the fibers come from aging clothes, rinsed out with the laundry and into the environment. Approximately half of the fibers were plastic, while the remainder were spun from natural materials like cotton or wool. Invisible to the naked eye, these fibers can cause health problems for animals and humans.

“The ocean is the endgame for plastics,” said marine biologist Abigail Barrows, who is a principal investigator with Adventure Scientists.

Barrows, who has been studying microfiber pollution in oceans for more than five years, wanted to learn more about what’s happening upstream in freshwater. So last year, Barrows and a team of scientists and volunteers measured microfiber pollution across all 13,300 miles of the Hudson river.

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