More than 90 percent of bottled water is contaminated with microplastics, particle concentration ranged from zero to more than 10,000 in a single bottle.
As per the recent study, analysis of 259 bottles from 19 locations in nine countries across 11 different brands found an average of 325 plastic particles for every liter of water being sold globally.
This includes top brands like Aquafina, Evian, and Bisleri. In India, individual water bottles samples were drawn from 19 locations in Mumbai, Delhi, and Chennai, and the result was shocking, a Bisleri sample reportedly contained 5,000 microplastic particles.
As per the report by Orb Media, earlier in the last year, it had found 83 percent of the tap water samples collected from across the world to be contaminated with microplastics. The biggest concern is that water purification methods do not block microplastics of nano sizes.
The research into bottled water involved buying packs from 11 different global and national brands in countries chosen for their large populations or their relatively high consumption of bottled water. These were:
Leading international brands:
- Nestle Pure Life
- San Pellegrino
Leading national brands:
- Aqua (Indonesia)
- Bisleri (India)
- Epura (Mexico)
- Gerolsteiner (Germany)
- Minalba (Brazil)
- Wahaha (China)
Leading brands denied the charges
Leading brands have defended the safety of their bottled water saying that their own tests showed significantly less contamination than in research. “We stand by the safety of our bottled water products,” the American Beverage Association said in a statement.
PepsiCo, which manufactures Aquafina denied the charges of contamination. It said that the bottled water goes through rigorous quality-control and is a safe product also the science of microplastics and microfibres is not fully developed yet and that microplastics are found across the environment.
Nestle told its own internal testing for microplastics began more than two years ago and had not detected any “above trace level”.
Coca-Cola said it had strict filtration methods, but acknowledged the ubiquity of plastics in the environment meant plastic fibers “may be found at minute levels even in highly treated products”.
Danone said it could not comment on the study because “the methodology used is unclear” but added that its own bottles had “food grade packaging”.
Do you think your bottle of mineral water is 100% pure?
No, not at all, as per the research it has been found that there were several possible routes for the plastics to be entering the bottles.
# Plastic microfibres are easily airborne. Clearly, that’s occurring not just outside but inside factories. It could come in from fans or the clothing being worn as per the study.
# The presence of a carcinogenic substance in the water is a cause of concern.
# The results revealed widespread contamination with plastic debris including polypropylene, nylon, and polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
# The research said polymer Polypropylene, used to make bottle caps, was found in most samples.
# Nylon was the second most abundant polymer in the water samples.
# Polyethylene corresponded to 10 percent of the particles analyzed.
# The research further shows that a whopping 93% of bottled water contained tiny pieces of plastic. There were 10.4 microplastic particles per liter of the bottle.
# In one bottle of Nestlé Pure Life, concentrations were as high as 10,000 plastic pieces per liter of water.
# The study found bromate levels four times the WHO limit. Bromates are considered carcinogens which can cause cancer in humans.
# Only 17 bottles out of the sample of 259 bottles didn’t contain microplastic.
# As per the BARC researchers report high levels of carcinogens were found in bottled drinking water samples in Mumbai. 90 bottles of 18 brands were tested– 27 percent contained bromates much more than the WHO limit.
What is Microplastic and what its sources and types?
# On average, plastic particles in the 100 microns (0.10mm) size range known as microplastics, were found at an average rate of 10.4 plastic particles per liter. It is not biodegradable, it just breaks down into smaller pieces of itself.
# Sources of microplastics: Synthetic clothes, paints, tire dust, bags, straws, forks. Microbeads found in toothpaste, cosmetic products.
# Types of microplastic: Polyethylene terephthalate – found in packaged water bottles, food items.
High-density Polyethylene – package milk, juice, shampoo.
Low-density Polyethylene – package bread, milk cartons.
Polyvinyl chloride – Wrapping materials for meat and sandwiches, bath toys.
Polypropylene – Yogurt, medicine containers, winter clothing.
Polystyrene – fishing industry.
How to restrain the spread of Microplastics?
# Stop using plastic bags instead use jute or paper bags.
# Buy glass instead of plastic.
# Avoid buying plastic water bottles, instead purchase reusable one.
# Use public transportation to reduce tire dust pollution.
# Wash your synthetic clothes less frequently.
How much its unsafe for your health?
Currently, there is no evidence that ingesting very small pieces of microplastics can cause harm to human health.
As per the WHO, bottled water is the only source of water for nearly 2.1 billion people worldwide as they lack access to clean tap water. 4000 children die every day from water-borne diseases.
A person who drinks a liter of bottled water a day might be consuming tens of thousands of microplastic particles each year, as per the study.
Often, microplastics or its derivatives can cross the cell barrier which, in turn, may gradually multiply to larger metabolic disorders/problems. These being endocrine disrupting substances, may show such detrimental effects too as per the scientist.
Only by curbing the use of plastic, we can retain the spread of microplastics.