Patagonia said it will start working with the Outdoor Industry Association in the U.S. to assess the potential threats of fleece and apparel made with synthetic materials for the environment. The new program follows research, commissioned by Patagonia, showing that this kind of clothing is likely to cause a significant portion of ocean pollution through the dispersion of microfibers, particularly if they are made with low-quality fabrics. Patagonia said its study indicated that generic fleece can shed about 170 percent more microfiber than its own fleece. It also showed that jackets washed in top-load washers shed over five times more microfibers than front-load washers. Synthetic microfibers can pose a threat to small organisms, working up their way to humans in the foot chain, says Patagonia.