What are microplastics (microfibres)?

Definitions of microplastics vary, however, most are classed as plastics that are smaller than 5mm in length down to a few microns across which can be harmful to the environment. Many objects including garments and synthetic materials have the potential to shed microplastics when washed or rinsed in water under normal usage conditions.

Multiple studies have shown that synthetic fibres make up the majority of microplastics which are known as microfibres. Microfibres enter the water system through the washing of clothing made from synthetic materials.


Image above left: Eurofins | BLC image of microfibre discharge from a synthetic material caught on a 15-micron mesh, viewed at over 600x magnification on a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM).



How do microplastics and microfibres cause environmental pollution?

Microplastics are not captured in most effluent treatment plants mainly due to their microscopic size. Microplastics can also absorb and concentrate toxic pollutants from the surrounding environment, making them more harmful.

Microplastics can be consumed by aquatic organisms and have been found in the food chain.

Microplastic pollution may be largely invisible but awareness of the impact it is having on natural environments is growing.

New regulation is encouraging a move away from single-use plastics such as plastic bags, straws and coffee cups. However, this does not address the challenge of microplastics entering water systems from many different products, particularly synthetic products that are washed e.g. polyester clothing, apparel and household products which are laundered or designed to be in contact with water.


Eurofins | BLC Microplastics Testing (Shedding Detection)

Eurofins | BLC have developed a microplastics test method which detects how much microplastic shedding an object will release into water bodies. The Eurofins | BLC test method uses the industry gold standard Gyrowash methodology to identify and analyse whether microplastic fibres (microfibres) are released from synthetic materials, including clothing and textiles.

This method can be adapted and modified to suit your needs and is flexible to include varying product types, including the testing of material samples and whole products. At Eurofins | BLC, we have a range of physical tests that can replicate real-life usage.


Analysis of Microplastic Contamination

With global plastic and microplastic contamination becoming one of the most important environmental discussions of our time, Eurofins | BLC and its partner laboratories offer industry-leading microplastic testing and plastic-type analysis and quantification using the latest FTIR Raman Spectroscopy or Laser Direct Infrared technology LDIR. These technologies combined with microfiltration, collection and SEM photography techniques enable detailed analysis of water, watercourses, sludges, sands, salts, marine matter, food and animal faeces.


Eurofins | BLC offer TMC Standardised Test Method for Microfibre Testing



Eurofins joins The Microfibre Consortium (TMC) as one of the first third-party laboratory members, alongside clothing brands, retailers, textile manufacturers and research organisations, to facilitate the development of practical solutions for the textile industry to minimise fibre fragmentation and release to the environment from textile manufacturing and product life cycle.



As a result, Eurofins | BLC can now offer TMC standardised test method for microfibre testing, which is developed by TMC in partnership with the University of Leeds and the European Outdoor Group (EoG). The method is also being considered by European and international standards organisations.



Access our Microplastic Free Downloads

  • Our white paper gives an understanding about the characteristics of microplastics shedding from stimulated domestic laundry through quantification. 
  • The Microplastics webinar is a 40 minutes overview on the key factors you need to know about Microplastics.





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Pioneering Providers of Microplastics Testing

Eurofins | BLC is one of the few materials laboratories around the world that offers microplastics testing. With collective knowledge of materials and commercial manufacturing, combined with the technical expertise of Eurofins | BLC staff, we can provide your business with access to both microplastics testing and consulting services.

Eurofins | BLC can help you understand microplastics and the associated risk for your business as well as management of materials in your supply chain through our consulting services. In the absence of standardised methods, our consulting team can work with you on developing tests that meet the needs of your development project.

Eurofins | BLC are proud to work with a wide variety of organisations around the world from chemical companies and product manufacturers to brands and retailers, testing a diverse range of consumer products. Customers of Eurofins | BLC benefit from fast testing turnaround times and one of the highest levels of customer service in the industry.

To ensure that Eurofins | BLC delivers some of the most accurate results in the industry, Eurofins | BLC regularly participates in proficiency testing programmes


For microplastics testing services, Eurofins | BLC provides:

  • Flexible microplastics test method for large and small-scale tests
  • Consultancy to help you understand the outcome of the test and developing tests on your behalf in the absence of standardlised methods.
  • A comprehensive and easy to understand test report with microscopy images


Become a Eurofins | BLC Member and access:

  • Discounted testing prices
  • Access to advanced support through Eurofins | BLC's technical concierge service


View Eurofins | BLC Membership Benefits

Our Accreditations

Eurofins | BLC holds accreditations from UKAS and CPSC and has auditors approved to carry out LWG audits. Trust Eurofins | BLC to deliver some of the most accurate test results in the industry.

View our Accreditations


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