Plastic fibers found in over 80% of tap water samples from five continents

September 7, 2017 by  
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If you had a glass of water from the tap today, you likely ingested plastic. Orb Media conducted an investigation of plastic in our tap water over 10 months, and their results were shocking: over 80 percent of samples they collected – in places like the United States Capitol building or the shores of Uganda’s Lake Victoria – contained plastic fibers. The authors of the study say we’re living in the Plastic Age – and the contamination probably is not limited to our water. Orb Media and a researcher from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health scrutinized plastic fibers in our tap water for the report, titled Invisibles, for what Orb Media described as the “first public scientific study of its kind.” Microplastics contaminating our water come from a variety of sources, from synthetic clothes to tire dust to microbeads to plastic utensils. According to Orb Media, “We have produced more plastic in the last 10 years than in the entirety of the last century.” They said experts said plastics are probably in your food too – like baby formula, sauces, or craft beer. Related: Plankton Pundit video shows exact moment plastic enters the food chain The research authors tested tap water in the United States, Europe, Indonesia, India, Lebanon, Uganda, and Ecuador. The United States had the greatest amount of plastics in their water at 94 percent of samples; the researchers detected the fibers at the Environmental Protection Agency’s headquarters, Congress buildings, and Trump Tower in New York. Lebanon and India had the next greatest amounts of contamination. Europe had the least – but plastics were still found in 72 percent of samples there. It’s easy to blame waste management or sewage treatment systems. But one marine biology professor said designers have a role to play too. Associate Dean of Research at Plymouth University Richard Thompson told Orb Media, “Plastics are inherently recyclable . What’s preventing us from recycling I’d argue, is inadequate, inappropriate, or…lack of proper consideration on the design stage for what’s going to happen at the end of life.” Senior Research Associate at the University of New South Wales Mark Browne said, “It’s all of our fault.” + Invisibles Via Orb Media and The Guardian Lead image via Depositphotos , others via Pixabay and Wikimedia Commons

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Plastic fibers found in over 80% of tap water samples from five continents

If you eat seafood, you’re probably eating fleece microfibers

February 7, 2017 by  
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If you enjoy spending time in the great outdoors (or simply like to feel warm and cozy throughout the day), you’re probably a fan of synthetic fleece jackets. But what you might not know is that every time one of these items runs through the wash, it releases thousands of microscopic plastic fibers into the water supply. These microfibers end up being eaten by fish and marine life – where they eventually end up back on our plates. A study last year from the University of California Santa Barbara , in collaboration with the clothing company Patagonia, shows that every time polyester fleece jackets are run through the wash without detergent, up to 2 grams of these fibers could be shed. It’s worse for top-load washing machines, which release seven times more fibers than the front-load variety. Unlike clothes dryers, which can capture loose fibers in lint traps, loose material in washing machines ends up simply being washed down the drain. Unfortunately, these microfibers are so small that wastewater treatment plants can’t filter them out. Instead, they end up being released into the environment, where they’re eaten by wildlife. Related:  Patagonia says synthetic fibers (including their own) are polluting the oceans Are these microscopic bits of plastic harmful when ingested? It’s not entirely clear. Some studies have show certain species can’t cope well with the microfibers: water fleas who inadvertently eat fleece fibers are more likely to die, and common crabs that have ingested the tiny bits of plastic eat less food overall. But further research is needed to show if humans who eat fleece-filled seafood suffer any ill effects. Unfortunately, short of avoiding fish altogether, it’s impossible to know whether you’re ingesting microfibers or not. For now, the only real solution is to either avoid washing your fleece when possible, or rig your washing machine with a filter to catch microfibers before they enter waterways. Sadly, that won’t do much unless everyone who wears synthetic fleece takes this advice to heart. Via NPR Images via Kelly and StockSnap  

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If you eat seafood, you’re probably eating fleece microfibers

Former opium den in Singapore reinvented as luxury waterfront hotel

February 7, 2017 by  
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The newly opened Warehouse Hotel in Singapore is undoubtedly posh, but it’s very different from the average luxury hotel. Set on the Singapore River, the Warehouse Hotel is housed in a heritage building, a former godown, which dates back to 1895 and has a surprising sordid history as a former hotbed for secret societies and underground activities. Zarch Collaboratives led the redesign of the 121-year-old building, converting it into a 37-room boutique hotel with state-of-the-art amenities, while paying homage to the area’s industrial past. Located on Havelock Road along the Singapore River, the historic godown was originally built for business purposes on the Straits of Malacca trade route. In the early 20th century, the area was notoriously known as the operating neighborhood of Chinese and Fujianese secret societies and was rife with gambling dens, prostitutes, and moonshine operations. While much of that history has disappeared and been replaced with the upscale Robertson Quay neighborhood, Zarch Collaboratives and interior design consultant Asylum Creatives wove playful references to the godown’s colorful history during the meticulous restoration and renovation process. Related: WOHA’s solar-powered SkyVille in Singapore boasts a deep-green public skypark Painted bright white, the Warehouse Hotel’s distinctive and symmetrical facade features the original peaked roofs with restored louvre windows, cornices, doors, moldings, and Chinese characters on the leftmost gables. The interior blends the warehouse’s utilitarian aesthetic, like exposed brick and vaulted ceilings, with modern decorations that allude to the area’s industrial and vice-filled past. Naked light bulbs and pulley systems, commonly found in godowns, are suspended from the ceiling of the double-height lobby. A set of handcuffs and other interesting trinkets are visibly displayed next to the check-in counter, while every room is equipped with a “Minibar of Vices” with local treats. + Justina Via ArchDaily Images via Justina

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Former opium den in Singapore reinvented as luxury waterfront hotel

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