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Studies: We Are Consuming Plastics from Drinking Water

YijunW CA, United States 0 Ratings 134 Discussions 0 Group posts

Posted by: YijunW

Studies: We Are Consuming Plastic from Drinking Water

A colorful plastic microfiber in bottled water. Photograph: Abigail Barrows

Globally, we generated 275 million metric tons of plastic waste in 2010 alone (Jenna R. Jambeck et al). But we only recycle a small portion of our plastic. According to the National Geographic, Europe recycles 30 percent of its plastic waste; China recycles 25 percent; The United States only recycles nine percent.

Given the mass production of plastic waste and the little percentage of recycling, it is not surprising to find 8 millions of plastic waste are dumped into the ocean each year, but it might surprise you to find plastic is also showing up in your drinking water (National Geographics).

Orb Media, a U.S. nonprofit journalism organization, reported that 94 percent of tap water samples collected in the United States are contaminated with plastic fibers, including the samples from Congress buildings, the US Environmental Protection Agency's headquarters, and Trump Tower in New York. UK, Germany, and France had the lowest contamination rate globally, but it was still 72 percent (Orb Media). Internationally, 83 percent of the samples were polluted with plastic fibers (The Guardian).

More studies confirm the plastic pollution. A Germany study found that microplastic fibers were present in all of the 24 beer brand samples (Gerd Liebezeit and Elisabeth Liebezeit). A French study reported microplastic falling from the air in Paris, which they reported three to 10 tons of fibers on the city per year (Rachid Dris et al). Another French study observed a significant amount of microplastic particles in total atmospheric fallout (29-280 particles/m2/d) in two residential areas and the Paris-Est University in Paris, confirming the contamination of the atmospheric compartment by microplastics (Johnny Gasperi et al).

If you think that you will get away by drinking bottled water than tap water, you are heading in the wrong direction.

A 2018 study by Orb Media and researchers at the State University of New York found microplastic contamination in 90 percent of the bottled water samples. The study tested on 259 bottles from 11 brands* across nine countries, reported that a single bottle could hold dozens to thousands of microscopic plastic particles. The average number of microplastic particles in bottled water is 10.4 per liter, which is twice the level of contamination found in tap water.

So how do the microplastic fibers get into our bottled water? Abigail Barrows, an ocean analyst of Story of Stuff, said, “Plastic microfibres are easily airborne. Clearly, that’s occurring not just outside but inside factories. It could come in from fans or the clothing being worn” (The Guardian).

How harmful is it to drink microplastic? We don't know. The World Health Organization says there is no clear evidence yet that microplastics are bad for us. However, we have little study about the effect of microplastic drinking. WHO spokesman Tarik Jašarević responded, there is "very scarce available evidence" about what microplastics could do inside our bodies (Business Insider).

Do you know how plastic is storming our world? Watch the video "Are You Eating Plastic for Dinner?" here:
https://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/short-film-showcase/are-you-eating-plastic-for-dinner

*Brands tested are Aqua (Danone), Aquafina (PepsiCo), Bisleri (Bisleri International), Dasani (Coca-Cola), Epura (PepsiCo), Evian (Danone), Gerolsteiner (Gerolsteiner Brunnen), Minalba (Grupo Edson Queiroz), Nestlé Pure Life (Nestlé), San Pellegrino (Nestlé) and Wahaha (Hangzhou Wahaha Group).

To read more, please visit:
The Guardian
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/06/plastic-fibres-found-tap-water-around-world-study-reveals
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/15/microplastics-found-in-more-than-90-of-bottled-water-study-says
Time
http://time.com/5200680/microplastic-water-bottle-orb-study/
Avery Thompson
https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/health/news/a28109/almost-all-drinking-water-is-contaminated-with-plastic/?utm_content=buffer2940d&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
Story of Stuff
https://storyofstuff.org/blog/release-new-study-finds-widespread-plastic-microfiber-contamination-in-bottled-water/
Jenna R. Jambeck, Roland Geyer, Chris Wilcox, Theodore R. Siegler, Miriam Perryman, Anthony Andrady, Ramani Narayan, Kara Lavender Law
http://science.sciencemag.org/content/347/6223/768
National Geographic
https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/07/plastic-produced-recycling-waste-ocean-trash-debris-environment/
Orb Media Tap Water
https://orbmedia.org/stories/Invisibles_plastics
Orb Media Bottle Water
https://orbmedia.org/stories/plus-plastic
Research: Synthetic particles as contaminants in German beers
Gerd Liebezeit and Elisabeth Liebezeit
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/19440049.2014.945099?journalCode=tfac20
Microplastic contamination in an urban area: case of greater Paris
Rachid Dris, Johnny Gasperi, Vincent Rocher, Saad Mohamed, Bruno Tassin
https://hal-enpc.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01150549v1
First overview of microplastics in indoor and outdoor air
Johnny Gasperi, Rachid Dris, Cécile Mirande-Bret, Corinne Mandin, Valérie Langlois, Bruno Tassin
https://hal-enpc.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01195546
Business Insider
https://www.businessinsider.com/what-drinking-plastic-does-to-your-body-2018-3

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