From Mark Kinver, BBC News:
Microscopic plastic debris from washing clothes is accumulating in the marine environment and could be entering the food chain, a study has warned.
Researchers traced the "microplastic" back to synthetic clothes, which released up to 1,900 tiny fibres per garment every time they were washed.
Earlier research showed plastic smaller than 1mm were being eaten by animals and getting into the food chain.
"Research we had done before... showed that when we looked at all the bits of plastic in the environment, about 80% was made up from smaller bits of plastic," said co-author Mark Browne, an ecologist now based at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
"This really led us to the idea of what sorts of plastic are there and where did they come from."
Dr Browne, a member of the US-based research network National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, said the tiny plastic was a concern because evidence showed that it was making its way into the food chain.