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VANCOUVER – Planet Textiles will team up with Textile Exchange in Vancouver next week to bring delegates a unique panel discussion on the science behind textile microfibre pollution, why it matters – and what the textile industry should be doing about it.

Featuring Dr Peter Ross from the Ocean Wise Plastics Lab in Canada, Jessica Sheil from outdoor brand Arc’teryx and Heidi Sanborn from the National Stewardship Action Council, the session will be moderated by John Mowbray the founder and editor of Ecotextile News.

In a first for a textile conference, delegates will hear about the potential biological impacts of textile microfibres on aquatic organisms, how they can enter the food chain and discuss what the impacts could be for eco-systems and human health?

While the discussion will cover biology, Dr Ross will also talk about the results of a brand-new study which shows that huge amounts of textile microfibres are finding their way into aquatic systems despite entering wastewater treatment facilities.

The session will also consider how outdoor brands such as Arc’teryx have reacted to this problem which has blind-sided the industry over the past five years. What sort of concerns are they hearing from consumers, if any? And does this mean they’ll need to rethink product design of some best-selling items?

Interestingly, Heidi Sanborn, the Executive Director of the California-based National Stewardship Action Council will take a look at how textile microfibres could become the subject of state or federal legislation in North America – especially in terms of extended producer responsibility (EPR).

Conversely, the World Health Organisation, recently put out a report that claimed microplastics such as textile microfibres in drinking water do not appear to pose a health risk at current levels. Can this be correct? Or is the industry sleepwalking towards a major health problem that was overlooked by governments, regulators and clinicians when asbestos fibres were first developed and then put to use on world markets?

The Planet Textiles session takes place on 16th October at the Textile Exchange event which is being held Vancouver Convention Center.

It’s also a prelude to another session the following day that’s being held by The Microfiber Consortium which looks at progress towards the development of an industry standard test method to determine the exact size of the problem our industry faces.

Come and join in the discussion! See more info on the event and how to register HERE.

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