From the onset of Covid-19 pandemic, the use of face masks has been adapted as one of the main measures to slow down the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus worldwide. The inadequate handling and management of face masks lead to a massive dispersal in the environment, resulting in a new source of microfibers because of their breakdown and/or degradation. In addition, the laundering of reusable face masks of different polymeric composition can represent an additional sources of microfibers to natural ecosystems, but it was largely neglected. The present study explored the release of synthetic or natural microfibers from reusable and disposable face masks of five different fabrics when subjected to a cycle of laundering in a domestic washing machine. After a single wash, face masks released an average (± SE) of 284.94 ± 73.66 microfibers, independently of the fabrics. Focusing on the fabrics composing the face masks, polyurethane (541.33 ± 51.84 microfibers) and cotton-based (823.00 ± 112.53 microfibers) face masks released the highest amount of synthetic and natural microfibers, respectively. Considering the crucial role of face masks to counteract the pandemic and the increasing trend of their use, further studies represent a priority to estimate the contribution of face mask-derived microfibers to freshwater contamination.

Laundering of face masks represents an additional source of synthetic and natural microfibers to aquatic ecosystems / B. De Felice, S. Antenucci, M.A. Ortenzi, M. Parolini. - In: SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT. - ISSN 0048-9697. - 806:1(2022 Feb), pp. 150495.1-150495.7. [10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.150495]

Laundering of face masks represents an additional source of synthetic and natural microfibers to aquatic ecosystems

B. De Felice
Primo
;
S. Antenucci;M.A. Ortenzi;M. Parolini
Ultimo
2022-02

Abstract

From the onset of Covid-19 pandemic, the use of face masks has been adapted as one of the main measures to slow down the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus worldwide. The inadequate handling and management of face masks lead to a massive dispersal in the environment, resulting in a new source of microfibers because of their breakdown and/or degradation. In addition, the laundering of reusable face masks of different polymeric composition can represent an additional sources of microfibers to natural ecosystems, but it was largely neglected. The present study explored the release of synthetic or natural microfibers from reusable and disposable face masks of five different fabrics when subjected to a cycle of laundering in a domestic washing machine. After a single wash, face masks released an average (± SE) of 284.94 ± 73.66 microfibers, independently of the fabrics. Focusing on the fabrics composing the face masks, polyurethane (541.33 ± 51.84 microfibers) and cotton-based (823.00 ± 112.53 microfibers) face masks released the highest amount of synthetic and natural microfibers, respectively. Considering the crucial role of face masks to counteract the pandemic and the increasing trend of their use, further studies represent a priority to estimate the contribution of face mask-derived microfibers to freshwater contamination.
Covid-19; Microfibers; Face masks; Washing cycle
Settore BIO/07 - Ecologia
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/886700
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