Micro-plastics found in Leading Bottled water brands

Last night’s BBC News at 10 featured research undertaken by Orb Media, reporting that some of the world’s leading brands of bottled water have been found to contain micro-plastics. 250 bottles of water from 11 leading bottled brands were tested in labs in New York.  A small number of bottles we found to contain no plastics, but a large quantity of bottles tested showed hundreds, if not thousands of micro-particles, some as big as the width of a human hair.

Scientists tested the water by first adding a dye called Nile Red, those bonds to plastic particles and causes them to fluoresce under special light.  Using this technology, scientists were able to indentify that the larger particles were indeed plastic; an average of 10 plastic parts per litre.   Smaller particles down to 6.5 microns were deemed to most likely be plastic, an average of 314 parts per litre were found during the tests.   Professor Shirley Mason from State University New York, who undertook the research, felt it was important to not point the finger of blame at any specific brand, but understand the wider implications of this study are that the problem of micro-plastics is everywhere.

One theory of how the plastic ends up in the water is that it is coming from the cap that is used to seal the bottle. Simply breaking the seal needed to keep the water safe, causes plastics to enter into the product.

Food safety experts have said these levels do not make the product unsafe and if tap peoples water supply is dirty they should carry on drinking the bottled water.  Scientists are keen to understand what a life time of ingesting these particles would have on the human body.   More research is needed to understand what the implications are of humans being exposed to plastics not just in their environment, but in the food and water they eat and drink.

One way to avoid exposure to micro-plastics is to drink water from a plumbed in cooler with a filter.  Our standard filters remove all particles down to 1 micron, and for clients who are concerned, we can supply ultra filtration that eliminates particles down to 0.05 microns.

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