You’re probably swallowing microplastics every time you drink from a plastic water bottle, according to a new study.
More than 250 water bottles from 11 brands in nine countries were tested by the nonprofit Orb Media and State University of New York at Fredonia. More than 90 percent of the samples were contaminated with microplastics.
Now, the World Health Organization is getting involved. The WHO recently announced that it is reviewing the potential risks of these microplastics, according to The Guardian. A spokesman from the WHO told The Guardian that, while there is not yet any evidence that these microplastics are harmful to human health, the study raises concerns.
Orb Media’s report showed an average of 10.4 plastic particles per liter, with particles ranging around 0.10 millimeters in size. A larger number of even smaller particles are also believed to be plastic.
Many are convinced that the packaging and bottling processes are possible culprits for the presence of these microplastics.
Of the 259 bottles tested, only 17 did not contain microplastics, the study showed. In one extreme case, a bottle of Nestlé Pure Life had concentrations of microplastics as high as 10,000 pieces per liter of water.
Overall, scientists “found roughly twice as many plastic particles within bottled water” compared to a previous tap water study, according to The Guardian.
Packaged water is the main source of water for most of the 2.1 billion who don’t have access to potable water, according to Orb Media and the WHO.
Orb Media claims that those who consume a liter of bottled water daily could be ingesting tens of thousands of microplastics every day.
Orb Media also says that the presence of microplastics can be deadly, because studies show they can absorb toxic chemicals that are linked to illnesses such as cancer.
Kathleen Rogers, president of Earth Day Network, points out that “every single thing that’s made out of plastic still exists.”
“It’s causing havoc with our reproductive systems (as well as causing) cancer,” she told Accuweather. “There’s not any question that plastic in your body is bad for you.”
The WHO acknowledges the challenges of launching a health review of bottled water. A spokesman told Accuweather that the organization will “… review the very scarce available evidence with the objective of identifying evidence gaps and establishing a research agenda to inform a more thorough risk assessment.”