(Duluth, MN) -- Researchers with the Large Lakes Observatory at the University of Minnesota-Duluth says tiny snarls, tangles and shreds of plastic -- known as microplastics -- are appearing by the hundreds of thousands in western Lake Superior. Researchers say the amounts don’t approach what's found near Hawaii in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, but are more than what’s been found in the North Atlantic. They are still are not sure of the source of the tiny plastic particles -- but believe one source is household laundry. Synthetic fabrics break down in the wash but washing machines, unlike clothes dryers, don’t have lint filters. And unlike natural fabrics, these fibers don’t break down in the water.

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