Microplastics Found in Popular Bottled Water Brands
We all know that plastic takes hundreds of years to break down. We also know plastic has found its way into places it should not be: oceans, beaches, public parks, animals’ stomachs, and many more. When we visualize plastic pollution, we see bottles and bags clogging our ecosystems, but there is more than that. There are microscopic plastic particles, called microplastics, that are also causing damage. We recently found that microplastics have even been found in our bottled water.
Study of Popular Brands
Researchers gathered 259 bottles of 11 popular bottled water brands and tested them for microplastics. On average, there were 325 pieces of microplastic per liter. Nestlé Pure Life had the highest average of microplastic per liter, with the highest of their samples containing 10,390 per liter. There were 17 samples that were free of contaminants, but they came from several different brands.
More Than Plastic Bottled Water
It was originally believed that these particles of plastic were coming from the manufacturing of the plastic bottles and lids. Researchers tested a popular brand in Canada, Eska, and found that their glass bottles also had microplastic in their water. This caused some speculation that the contamination is coming from the environment where the bottling is being done.
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Microplastic’s Effect on Fish
Chelsea Rochman, an ecologist at the University of Toronto, found that the effects of microplastic on fish deadly. It caused the formation of tumors, liver toxicity, and disrupted endocrine systems. The especially small particles were able to pass through the organs of the fishes, and some even found their way into their brains.
What About Us?
This is terrifying for us. If microplastic can harm and pass through the different systems in a fish’s body, it can happen to us. Rochman says that “the dose makes the poison” though. Extremely trace amounts will likely have no effect on the human body, but more research needs to be done to determine the short-term and long-term effects on humanity. It is something we need to know.
We have seen animals die because of the amount of plastic they consumed. If a person consumed a liter of water a day with the average of 325 pieces of microplastic, that is over 110,000 particles consumed in a year. If any of those particles became lodged in the intestines or stayed anywhere in the body, there could be serious negative effects.
What You Can Do
In order to prevent a large number of microplastics from entering your body, avoid bottled water. Instead, invest in a good filtration system for your tap water. Most bottled water is only tap water anyway.
You have also heard this about a million times by now, but please reduce the amount of plastic you use and recycle what you do use. We have to spread awareness to keep the plastic pollution from causing more problems than it already is.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons