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A Voice for our Ocean

ADVISORY: Environmental Groups Announce Support for New Bill to Protect Great Lakes, Drinking Water from Microplastics

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CHICAGO, IL – On World Water Day, March 22, the Alliance for the Great Lakes, Ocean Conservancy, Illinois Environmental Council, and Loyola University scientists will hold a briefing with partners at the Museum of Science and Industry, outside of the Blue Paradox exhibit, to discuss protecting the Great Lakes and waterways from the environmental and health risks of microfiber pollution, the most prevalent form of microplastics in environmental samples and represent over 90% of microplastics ingested by marine animals. The Alliance for the Great Lakes (AGL), Ocean Conservancy, and Illinois Environmental Council (IEC) invite members of the press to join for a briefing to discuss the growing threat caused by microfiber pollution. 

The Great Lakes provide drinking water for more than 30 million people and are home to diverse and increasingly threatened wildlife. However, the Great Lakes are in the midst of a plastic pollution crisis, with plastic waste increasingly accumulating in our waterways. In particular, synthetic microfibers, a type of microplastic shed or fragmented from plastic-based textiles and clothing, are of growing concern. In animals, ingestion of microfibers has been shown to reduce food consumption, reduce energy for growth, alter gene expression, and block digestive tracts.

In many cases, microfibers shed from clothing during household and commercial laundering escape wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and flow with the discharge into our waterways. To address this issue, Illinois lawmakers have introduced a package of Microfiber bills HB4269, HB5658, and HB5659.

Media are requested to RSVP by 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 21st with Don Carr at (651) 395-4270 or [email protected].

WHODr. Chevy Humphrey, President and CEO, Museum of Science and Industry Jeff Watters, VP of External Affairs, Ocean Conservancy Molly Flanagan, COO, Alliance for the Great Lakes Cam Davis, Commissioner, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago Board. Emily Johnson, Researcher, Loyola University Aquatic Ecology Lab Iyana Simba, Water & Chicago Policy Director, Illinois Environmental Council
WHATPress briefing will address the emerging challenge caused by microfiber pollution in the Great Lakes, scientific findings, and policy solutions being advanced in Illinois.
WHENFriday, March 22, 2024, at 10:00 AM CST
WHEREMuseum of Science and Industry
The Blue Paradox exhibit
5700 S DuSable Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60637 **Parking: Media can park at the museum’s underground parking garage and will receive validation once on site. If you require outdoor parking at the museum’s west lot, please inform Kelsey Ryan, Museum of Science and Industry Director of Public Relations at (773) 947-3736 or [email protected].

A fact sheet on microfibers can be found HERE.



The Alliance for the Great Lakes is a nonpartisan nonprofit working across the region to protect our most precious resource: the fresh, clean, and natural waters of the Great Lakes. For more information, visit


Ocean Conservancy is working to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together with our partners, we create evidence-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. For more information, visit, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.  

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Roya Fox


Media Contact

Don Carr




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