Yoga pants, cozy clothes may be key source of sea pollution

KEY LARGO, Fla. (AP) – Gulf Coast researchers say comfortable clothes are emerging as a source of plastic that’s increasingly ending up in the oceans and potentially contaminating seafood.

The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium is launching a two-year study of microscopic plastics in the waters from south Texas to the Florida Keys. The project will expand on a year’s worth of data collected around the state of Florida that predominantly found microfibers – shreds of plastic even smaller than microbeads flowing down bathroom sinks and shower drains.

University of Florida researcher Maia McGuire says microfibers can come from yoga pants, Patagonia’s cozy jackets, sweat-wicking athletic wear and other garments made from synthetic materials.

The effects of microfiber pollution remain under investigation, but the emerging data has prompted clothing company Patagonia to support research into the prevalence of microfiber pollution.