Tiny pieces of plastic found in nearly all bottled water


So, parents should teach their kids to drink more water but, with this new alarming study, it seems hard to choose a healthy bottled water for kids and teenagers. Concerning findings from the State University of NY at Fredonia may make us rethink using a plastic water bottle.

HOUSTON-A new study by the State University of NY at Fredonia and the journalism group Orb Media claims that 93 percent of bottled water show signs of microplastic contamination.

About 250 bottles of mineral water from 11 different brands were tested to confirm or refute the hypothesis. Smaller particles that could have been plastic were also found, with an average of 314 per liter. So, is this a problem?

Fortunately, shortly after the publication of this latest report, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that they are launching a review into the long-term risks of microplastics in drinking water.

As part of the tests, Orb Media analysed water from US, China, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Lebanon, Kenya and Thailand.

The press release went on to state, "Ninety-three percent of bottled water showed some sign of microplastic contamination". Although present in far greater quantities - about 325 per liter - it isn't clear that they are definitively plastic or not at this stage as their identity couldn't be confirmed with the microscope. "They're in the food web in our oceans, and now we know they're in most of our bottled water too".

The data indicated the contamination is at least partially coming from the packaging or bottling process itself.

Sherri Mason a professor at the university conducted the analysis and said plastic was found'in bottle after bottle and brand after brand
Sherri Mason a professor at the university conducted the analysis and said plastic was found'in bottle after bottle and brand after brand

The findings suggest that a person who drinks a liter of bottled water a day - half of what the average person needs every day - might be consuming tens of thousands of microplastic particles each year, the Orb Media article notes. The bottles were left alone for 30 minutes, and then vacuum filtered through a glass-fiber filter.

The tiny plastic pieces are thought to be leftovers from when the bottles and caps are manufactured.

Nestlé, which produces several bottled water brands, responded by saying that the Nile Red dye method could "generate false positives", in a statement to CBC News.

United Kingdom-based newspaper The Guardian noted a similar study commissioned by environmental group The Story of Stuff which found microplastics in 19 bottled waters in the USA, including the brand Boxed Water.

Some of the larger pieces were identified as polypropylene, common plastic found in bottle caps.

That said, the organization's priority remains "promoting access to safe water for 2 billion people who now use and drink contaminated water", the spokesperson added.

A spokesman for the World Health Organisation (WHO) told The Guardian that although there was not yet any evidence on the impact on human health, it was aware that the issue was an emerging area of concern.

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