Economy

90% of bottled water 'contains microplastics'

90% of bottled water 'contains microplastics'

Bottled water sampled from manufacturers around the world is teeming with microplastics - tiny plastic particles that are often too small to see - according to a new report.

A 2016 report from the European Food Safety Authority said the vast majority of consumed microplastic particles likely pass safely through the body.

"They have been reported in tap water, beer and many other foods, but I think that people will be surprised that nearly all bottled water appears to be contaminated too".

"I think it is coming through the process of bottling the water".

Mason analyzed bigger particles (0.10 millimetres) using Fourier-Transform infrared spectroscopy that uses laser light to read an object's molecular signature to identify the plastic.

As odd as it may sound, we simply don't definitively know what the dangers of long-term plastic ingestion on humans may be, which is why the caution around the ubiquity of microplastics is certainly nothing but sensible.

While the study has not been peer-reviewed, University of East Anglia chemistry lecturer Andrew Mayes, who developed the Nile Red method, said the findings were substantial.

Previous research by Orb Media has found plastic particles in tap water, too, but on a smaller scale. A recent study by journalism non-profit Orb Media has found microplastics in 93% of the 250 bottled water samples it tested.

While the WHO said it will look at the microplastics issue, Jasarevic said the organization's priority "remains promoting access to safe water for 2 billion people who now use and drink contaminated water".

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

There is no evidence that consuming such small particles of plastic has any ill health effects, but it comes at a time of heightened worldwide concern of plastic pollution and the effect it is having on the environment. The concentrations ranged widely, from zero to an astounding 10,000 plastic particles in one bottle.

We also tested bottled waters from other brands to balance it out, the two other brands were Le Minerale and Club. This figure is just an average though, with some bottles containing very few and some containing magnitudes more. "We found roughly twice as many plastic particles within bottled water as compared to tap water on average", according to the report. The dyed water was then poured through a glass fibre filter.

Circumstantially, the requirement of safe drinking water kicked off the growth of packaged water industry which has now become one of the fastest growing industries in the world, and per year, it mints as much as $147 billion. Without elaborating, he said some of the fluorescing particles could be false positives - natural material that the Nile Red had also stained.

It looked at popular brands of water including Aquafina, Dasani and Nestle Pure Life.

Nestle said it tested six bottles from three locations after an inquiry from Orb.

Americans drink a lot of bottled water.

However, she noted, that "legislation makes clear there must be no contaminants".

The US does not have specific rules for microplastic in food and beverages.


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