World Health Organization launches review into microplastics found in drinking water

Written by: Jo Gallacher | Published:
Around 93% of popular water brands tested contained microplastics

The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced it will launch a review into potential risks of plastic in drinking water after a new study found 93% of popular water brands tested contained microplastics.

Analysis of 259 bottles from 19 locations in countries across 11 different brands found an average of 325 plastic particles for every litre of water.

Scientists from State University of New York in Fredonia used Nile red dye, which sticks to the surface of plastics but not most natural materials, to fluoresce particles.

According to Orb Media, which commissioned the project, one bottle had a concentration of more than 10,000 particles per litre.

Bottles were collected and analysed from US, China, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Lebanon, Kenya and Thailand.

Brands tested included Nestle Pure Life, San Pellegrino and Evian.

Speaking to RWW, Chris Sherrington, head of environmental policy and economics at Eunomia, suggested more research needs to be done to determine the extent of contamination.

He said: “It’s difficult to know whether we should worry about it because there’s no evidence of harm, yet it’s not certain that there’s not harm either. The study is another example of finding microplastics in an unexpected place.

“We find microplastics in the marine environment, fresh water and land, and at the minute we don’t have the depth of understanding into health and environmental impacts. As a precaution, we need to reduce our plastic consumption.”

The original study can be found here.


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