Drink Bottled Water? You’re Also Drinking Microplastics

A lot of people purchase bottled water because they think it’s a purer source of water than what comes out of the tap. New research points to pretty much all of the bottled water we drink containing microscopic particles of plastic.

Orb Media tested hundreds of bottles from nine different countries and found that over 93 percent of them contained microplastics, with an average of 10.4 plastic particles per liter. The bottles also contained 314 extra small particles of plastic per liter, but those are so tiny that the researchers can’t absolutely conclude that it’s plastic in the first place.

Bottled water already poses a major plastic problem in the form of plastic waste. 38 billion water bottles – about 77 percent of the total purchased – do not get recycled annually. The fact that there’s trace amounts of plastic inside that plastic just may be extra incentive to invest in reusable water bottles.

Let’s be perfectly clear – there’s not a lot of research on how microplastics affect the human body. While it seems intuitive that you wouldn’t want to consume plastics if you can help it, the science simply isn’t there to say it’s bad for your health.

However, the World Health Organization has said it will begin to study this matter to give the public better guidance. After all, there should be research that can say one way or another that drinking microplastics is harmful or fine.

“The public are obviously going to be concerned about whether this is going to make them sick in the short term and the long term,” said Bruce Gordon, a water and sanitation expert for WHO.

What we do know is that scientists are plenty concerned about the microplastics being swallowed by marine life. The tiny specks of plastic are everywhere in the ocean at this point, and researchers are finding this plastic even in tissue samples of the largest animals.

Although Orb’s study looked at water across the world, Americans shouldn’t consider themselves immune from the problem. Popular brands such as Aquafina, Dasani, Evian and San Pellegrino were all included in the study, and found to have microplastics.

Some of the brands have issued statements criticizing the study. For example, Nestlé believes that Orb’s technique for measuring microplastics has the potential to “generate false positives.” Meanwhile, the American Beverage Association is declaring that it still believes bottled water to be safe.

Maybe the real problem is that plastic is just everywhere at this point. It’s not (exclusively) the fault of water bottle companies that a product that is so difficult to biodegrade is in our air and water sources. Until we make a global commitment to eradicating plastic from our lives, it won’t be surprising for higher and higher concentrations of plastic to show up in the water we drink.

Photo credit: Pixabay

65 comments

Marie W
Marie W1 months ago

Thanks

SEND
Jeramie D
Jeramie D4 months ago

Plastic is the devil

SEND
Danuta W
Danuta W4 months ago

thank you for posting

SEND
Chad A
Chad Anderson6 months ago

Thank you.

SEND
Carole R
Carole R7 months ago

It seems nothing is safe anymore.

SEND
Angela K
Angela K7 months ago

Thanks for sharing

SEND
Richard E Cooley
Richard E Cooley7 months ago

SAD.

SEND
Ruth S
Ruth S7 months ago

I rarely use bottled water, just sometimes like to take along on a road trip, or get one at the airport. I reuse plastic bottles a time or two before recycling. Thoroughly wash juice or pop bottles, fill with water, and freeze for ice for your cooler. Then you can drink the water when it melts.

SEND
Sophie M
Past Member 7 months ago

Thank you

SEND
Just Human
Just Human7 months ago

Unfortunately, plastic is everywhere. Bottles, packaging, containers. Yack!

SEND