The World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced a review into the potential risks of plastic in tap and bottled water after a new analysis of some of the world’s most popular bottled water brands found that more than 90% contained tiny pieces of plastic. A previous study also found high levels of micro-plastics in tap water. In the new study, analysis of 259 bottles from 19 locations in nine countries across 11 different brands found an average of 325 plastic particles for every litre of water being sold.
Microscopic plastic fibres are pouring out of faucets from New York to New Delhi, according to new research by Orb Media, a non-profit digital newsroom based in Washington. When consumed, plastic fibers may ferry toxins from the environment into the human body, experts fear. Researcher Richard Thompson of Plymouth University said that in animal studies, “it became clear very early on that the plastic would release those chemicals – and that actually, the conditions in the gut would facilitate really quite rapid release.” The short and long term effects on humans are not fully understood.
Micro Plastic in Bottled Water Worldwide
Dr Sherri Mason, a microplastic expert at the State University of New York in Fredonia, who supervised the analyses for Orb said“We have enough data from looking at wildlife, and the impacts that it’s having on wildlife, to be concerned,” She continued “If it’s impacting [wildlife], then how do we think that it’s not going to somehow impact us?”
Dr Anne Marie Mahon at the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, who conducted a separate smaller study in the Republic of Ireland also found microplastic contamination in a some tap water and well samples. Mahon raised the alarm by pointing out that there were two principal concerns about this. The first is the very small plastic particles and secondly the chemicals or pathogens that microplastics can harbour. “If the fibres are there, it is possible that the nanoparticles are there too that we can’t measure,” she said. “Once they are in the nanometre range they can really penetrate a cell and that means they can penetrate organs, and that would be worrying.”
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