Bottled Water Might Contain More Microplastics Than We'd Like to Admit

A group of researchers reveal that bottled water contains high levels of microplastics that are hazardous to all forms of life on Earth.
Kashyap Vyas

It is no secret that plastic bottles have a very damaging impact on the environment and our planet. While some countries are picking up the pace in their efforts — take for example, Canada, which recently came to officially declare plastics as toxic— the initiatives in recycling simply do not cut it. Statistics reveal that people utilize more than a million plastic bottles per minute throughout the globe.

This results in several potential hazards to the environment such as cluttering ecosystems, clogging up waterways and affecting wildlife. If you thought that the side-effects of using plastic bottles were only limited to damaging the planet, think again!

A report reveals that every sip of bottled water that we consume costs us a lot more than the bottle itself. And not only that, the plastic bottled water also contains dangerous levels of Microplastics that are a health hazard for humans.

Owing to this study, WHO has decided to investigate all the possible health risks to humans that can be caused by ingesting plastic.  

So, what are these Microplastics? They are nothing but really tiny pieces of plastic particles that are <5 mm in length. Some estimates reveal that our waterways are clogged with almost 275,000 tons of these Microplastics each year.

The study was conducted by a group of researchers from the State University of New York at Fredonia. The study subject was water that came from 259 plastic bottles that were produced by 11 companies and were sold in 9 different countries.

In order to test the presence or levels of Microplastics in the water, they suspended a red-colored dye into the bottles. The idea was that since the dye would stick to the plastic in the water, they could differentiate between the floating red-colored pieces of plastic and the water.

The results were quite staggering. According to the data, every liter of water contained an average of about 10.4 plastic particles. A liter of bottled water from Nestle Pure Life contained 10,000 plastic particles.

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It is important to mention that some bottles had no such plastic contamination in them. According to the findings published in the Orb Media article, if a person drinks the recommended amount of water daily, they might be drinking thousands of Microplastics yearly.

Being said that, the exact nature of the impact of Microplastics on our health is still unknown, although it is clear that this level of accumulation of plastic in our body could not possibly be good for our health.

Several experiments conducted on fishes reveal their change in behavior and hormone levels when subjected to a high buildup of Microplastics. Plastic contains several chemicals that affect humans in the same way.

Another investigation conducted by Orb Media also revealed that as much as 83% of tap water contains Microplastics. And this is not even the most shocking thing. Microplastics contained in plastic bottles are double this amount!   

Given that plastic bottles are so thoroughly embedded in our daily lives even if we stop their production, it would take months to remove them from our lives. The only permanent solution would be a complete ban on plastics altogether.

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