One litre of bottled water contains thousands of microplastic particles

Microplastics Discovered in 93 Percent of Popular Bottled Water Brands

Ricardo Bernardo

The World Health Organisation has announced a review into the potential risks of plastic in drinking water.

Orb Media, a journalist organization, conducted a mass study and found plastic particles in many branded bottles of water.

Other brands tested included Aqua (Danone), Dasani (Coca-Cola), Epura (GEPP*), Evian (Danone), Gerolsteiner (Gerolsteiner Brunnen), Minalba (Grupo Edson Queiroz), Nestlé Pure Life (Nestlé), San Pellegrino (Nestlé) and Wahaha (Hangzhou Wahaha Group).

According to a summary of the research published Thursday, a study of bottled water in nine countries found "widespread" contamination with microplastics, which are particles of plastic that are small enough to be ingested.

"When we think about the composition of the plastic, whether there might be toxins in it, to what extent they might carry harmful constituents, what actually the particles might do in the body - there's just not the research there to tell us", Bruce Gordon, coordinator of the WHO's global work on water and sanitation, told BBC News. Particle concentration ranged between zero and over 10,000 likely plastic particles in a single bottle.

The research was commissioned by Orb Media, a nonprofit journalism organization that has launched several investigations into the impact of plastic particles on consumer health and the eco-system.

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Researchers tested 250 bottles of water in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Thailand and the United States. They say their findings suggest that the plastic is coming from the actual bottling process.

The Nile Red method has gained credibility and is considered a reliable way to test plastic particles in water samples. The dye is applied to the water samples, which are subsequently irradiated with blue light.

However, some of the particles may be coming from the original water source, according to Andrew Mayes, one of the developers of the Nile red technique from UEA's School of Chemistry, who was not involved in the new study.

The scientists wrote they had "found roughly twice as many plastic particles within bottled water" compared with their previous study of tap water, reported by the Guardian. "I think it's something to be concerned about". "It creates so much waste, which itself feeds into the environmental problem, whether or not the microplastics in bottled water turn out to be harmful to us".

Researchers caution that it's unclear what effect microplastics can have on the human body. No food safety authorities in the advanced countries including FCA, or EUFA have set residue level for microplastic or microfibre, he said. Smaller particles assumed to be plastic but not positively identified were found as well - an average of 314 per litre.

PepsiCo India is among those companies that have contested the study's findings, saying: "Aquafina maintains rigorous quality-control measures, sanitary manufacturing practices, filtration and other food safety mechanisms which yield a reliably safe product for enjoyment anywhere in the world".

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