Press Release: Save the Sound Applauds CT AG Tong’s Letter on Plastic Microfiber Pollution

NEW HAVEN, CT — Save the Sound commends the leadership of Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, who led a coalition of 16 attorneys general in delivering a letter today to the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calling on the agencies to address the mounting problem of plastic microfibers present in waterbodies across the globe. We thank AG Tong, as well as New York Attorney General Letitia James and Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha from our neighboring states, who also signed the letter.

This action is consistent with the recommendations of the microfiber working group, contained in a report submitted by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to the state legislature in early 2020. Among other things, the report recommended requiring filters in washing machines. We know that microplastics and microfibers can be ingested by humans and cause a range of significant health problems, from cancer to disruption in endocrine and reproductive functions.

Bill Lucey, Long Island Soundkeeper, Save the Sound: “Four years ago, the Connecticut General Assembly directed CTDEEP to convene a working group which brought together advocates, industry, and the research community to look at the hazards microfibers pose to our health and environment. The report was clear that this microfiber pollution was pervasive, could enter the food web, and carry a variety of pollutants into fish, wildlife, and ourselves. What was also clear was that much of the pollution was coming from plastic shed by common clothing items in home and commercial washing machines, and that requiring filtration as part of the wash discharge cycle would go a long way to reducing microfibers in our water.”

Roger Reynolds, senior legal director, Save the Sound: “We commend Attorney General Tong for his leadership on the microfiber issue and for calling on the EPA to address it. Microfibers are the most prevalent form of microplastics and pose and enormous threat to Long Island Sound and the environment. Microplastics are appearing throughout ecosystems and in a wide variety of fish and shellfish that people consume. The Clean Water Act has made great progress in cleaning our waters to make them truly swimmable and fishable, but unless we deploy it against today’s threats, we seriously risk moving backwards and losing ground in our efforts to protect clean water and public health.”

Later this month, Save the Sound will release the 2023 Connecticut Cleanup Report, featuring data collected from six years of the Connecticut Cleanup. The Report covers environmental and public health risks associated with microplastic and macroplastic pollution, and action steps both policymakers and Connecticut residents can take.

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