A Voice for Our Ocean

VIDEO: Scientists in Sacramento to Advocate for Bill to Prevent Microplastic Pollution with Washing Machine Filters

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Broadcast quality video and on-camera comments from scientists who met with lawmakers today at the California State Capitol is available HERE.

SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, Dr. Anja Brandon, Associate Director of U.S. Plastics Policy for Ocean Conservancy, alongside scientists and representatives from The Nature Conservancy and 5 Gyres Institute gathered at the California State Capitol to urge lawmakers to support Assembly Bill 1628. The bill would establish a new science-based standard for microfiber filters on all new washing machines sold into the state by 2029 to prevent microfiber pollution from entering the environment.

Assembly Bill 1628 was heard in the Senate Appropriations committee on August 28 and must be voted on in both chambers by September 14th to make it to the Governor’s desk.

Each year, its estimated that approximately 6.5 million metric tons of microfibers are released into the environment globally, and up to 4.85 million pounds of microfibers enter California’s lands and waters each year from washing machines, which is only projected to increase. Microfibers have been found to represent over 90% of all microplastics taken in by marine wildlife in some studies. In animals, ingestion of microfibers has been shown to reduce food consumption, reduce energy for growth, alter gene expression, and block digestive tracts. Bacteria and pathogens can also be found on the surface of microplastics, and when swallowed or inhaled by animals and humans have the potential to spread disease.

Ocean Conservancy, The Nature Conservancy, and 5 Gyres Institute are co-sponsors of the bill, which is also supported by over 40 environmental groups and nearly three dozen scientists.

Ocean Conservancy plastics pollution experts Dr. Anja Brandon and Dr. Britta Baechler are available for interviews with media about the impact of microfiber pollution and why Ocean Conservancy is urging California lawmakers to pass AB 1628.

Please contact Nadia Gonzalez at [email protected] or 310-409-8931 to coordinate media interviews.

About the experts:

Dr. Anja Brandon is the Associate Director of U.S. Plastics Policy at Ocean Conservancy, working to advance policy solutions at the state and federal level to eliminate plastic pollution and support the transition to a circular economy. Dr. Brandon has served as one of the principal negotiators for AB 1628. Dr. Brandon was also recently named among Fast Company’s 2023 Most Creative People for her innovate work to help draft and pass the strongest plastics legislation in the country, California’s SB 54. Anja holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering and Science from Stanford University where she was awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship for her work. Her doctoral research focused on understanding plastic waste management challenges and developing novel methods to break down common plastics.

Dr. Britta Baechler is the Associate Director of Ocean Plastics Research for Ocean Conservancy and a scientist who has studied the impacts of microplastic pollution on animals along the Pacific coast testified in support of AB 1628 during a California Assembly hearing this past March. She has more than a decade of experience in fisheries management and marine conservation. In her role as Associate Director for Ocean Plastics Research at Ocean Conservancy, Britta leads primary research on varied topics related to the distribution and impacts of plastic pollution, including prevalence of microplastics in the human food system, movement of trash from inland out to sea and public knowledge and perceptions of the plastic pollution issue.

A fact sheet on microfibers can be found HERE.

Letters from environmental organizations and scientists supporting the bill can be found HERE.




About Ocean Conservancy

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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