DAVIS (CBS13) – Could your workout clothes be contaminating the ocean and killing our fish?
Researchers suggest plastics found in some workout clothes and fleeces are actually being sent out to the sea and affecting fish and wildlife.
It was a shock to many people who feel like they’re eco-friendly.
“I love that they are comfortable and they fit my body exactly,” said Rachel Anderson, a graduate student at UC Davis.
Anderson is a marathon runner and says workout clothes are nearly as vital as water when hitting the pavement.
“I sweat a lot when I work out, so dry fit is something I look for,” she said.
Anderson studies ecology and was shocked to hear tiny plastics in her clothes could be affecting marine life.
“It’s hard to imagine that my clothing choices could be affecting their habitat that they live in, these endangered species that I study, but I’d be really upset to find out if it was,” she said.
A two-year study shows emerging comfy clothes is a large source of plastics that’s ending up in the ocean and can contaminate our seafood.
“One issue is that some of the plastics that are so small that our waste management system sort of [lets them] slip through the cracks,” said Dr. Matt Savoca with UC Davis.
He said the microplastics are becoming a food source for the fish and ultimately us.
“Guess who eats fish? We do, we love fish, so the plastics in fish, if the plastics contain harmful chemicals and get into the bodies of fish, which researcher show is what happens, then we could be ingesting these plastic chemicals down the line,” he said.
But for runners like Anderson, who want to be eco-friendly, she’s confused on what to do.
“I don’t know what the answer is. I mean, I can’t stop wearing my workout outfits,” she said.
So what is the solution?
“It’s probably a multifaceted one. There are aspects of the problem that could probably be done before the plastics ever get out to sea,” said Dr. Savoca.
Another option is collecting plastics at sea before the fish do. Many companies are looking into ways to keep plastic out of the sea, but to find a feasible option Dr. Savoca said is difficult.
If you’re wearing 100% cotton, you’re in the clear, but fi it’s synthetic, it could be carrying some of those dangerous plastics.