Top bottled water brands tainted with plastic particles

Robyn Valdez
March 16, 2018

Although plastic pollution in general is decidedly grim, the specific risks of microplastic ingestion on human health are highly uncertain at present because the phenomenon remains under-researched.

The research was conducted by testing 250 bottles from 11 brands by Orb Media, a US-based journalism organisation, in collaboration with the State University of NY in Fredonia.

Experts used a red dye called Nile Red which absorbs to the surface of plastics, making them easier to see under infrared light.

Bottles of water from the same brand contained a wide range of plastic contamination, with particles as small as 6.5 microns.

Sherri Mason, a chemistry professor at State University of NY in Fredonia, told BBC, that the idea behind the project was not to target certain brands.

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"Based on what we know so far about the toxicity of microplastics-and our knowledge is very limited on that-I would say that there is little health concern, as far as we know", says Martin Wagner, a toxicologist at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

Largest investigation of its kind finds tiny plastic particles in 93 percent of samples tested. The bottles came from various countries, including the US, China, Mexico, Thailand and Brazil. Just 17 of the 259 bottles of water sampled were found to have no evidence of plastic. So, partly in response to Orb Media's research, the World Health Organization has now told the BBC it is launching its own review into the potential risks.

A new study commissioned by the Story of Stuff Project has found a widespread plastic microfiber-contamination in bottled water. He warned from consuming water in a plastic bottle that has been kept in high temperatures or forgotten in a auto for days since temperature and plastic combination could produce carcinogenic particles.

On average, they found bottled water contains 10.4 pieces of plastic per litre around the 0.1mm size - about double what they found in tap water sourced from around the globe.

"We don't even know all the chemicals in plastics", Muncke told Orb.

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Between 1995 and 2016, the United Kingdom bottled water market (including water coolers), has grown from just 800 million litres to nearly 3.2 billion litres.

"This indicates that some of the microplastic contamination is likely coming from the water source, but a larger contribution might be originating from the packaging itself", the study says. They are also found in the intestines of fish and other seafood.

Danone, the company behind Evian and Indonesian brand Aqua, told Orb it is "not in a position to comment as the testing methodology used is unclear".

International Bottled Water Association President and CEO Joe Doass said in a statement that the report's findings "do nothing more than unnecessarily scare consumers", and added that "The bottled water industry is committed to providing consumers with the safest and highest quality products", reported USA Today.

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Other reports by Info About Network

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