Microfibers Released into the Air from a Household Tumble Dryer

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-126
Journal / PublicationEnvironmental Science and Technology Letters
Issue number2
Online published12 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2022



Microfibers of polyester and cotton might be significant for the transport and fate of chemical pollutants in the air due to the amounts emitted, as well as their capacities to sorb inorganic and organic compounds. It was hypothesized that household tumble driers could be atmospheric sources of these microfibers. This study quantified the number of the two most common textile fibers discharged from a household vented tumble dryer to ambient air. The results suggest that driers of this type are a potential source of air contamination by microfibers, releasing 433,128-561,810 microfibers during 15 min of use. Microfibers can be generated from both polyester and cotton textiles. The abundances of microfibers of polyester produced were directly proportional to the masses of clothing loaded into a dryer, but such a relationship was not apparent for cotton textiles. On the basis of the results presented here and other relevant data, it was estimated that the average Canadian household can annually release from 9 × 107 to 12 × 107 microfibers from a single dryer. To minimize the release of these microfibers into the air, an appropriate engineered filtration system should be developed and adopted as an effective control measure for individual household driers.

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