Health Desk: 16 March 2018: The world’s leading brands of bottled water are contaminated with tiny plastic particles that are likely seeping in during the packaging process, according to a major study across nine countries published on Wednesday.
“Widespread contamination” with plastic was found in the study, led by microplastic researcher Sherri Mason of the State University of New York at Fredonia, according to a summary released by Orb Media, a U.S.-based nonprofit media collective.
Researchers tested 250 bottles of water in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Thailand and the United States.
Plastic was identified in 93 percent of the samples, which included major name brands such as Aqua, Aquafina, Dasani, Evian, Nestle Pure Life and San Pellegrino.
The plastic debris included nylon, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polypropylene, which is used to make bottle caps.
“In this study, 65 percent of the particles we found were actually fragments and not fibers,” Mason told AFP.
“I think that most of the plastic that we are seeing is coming from the bottle itself. It is coming from the cap. It is coming from the industrial process of bottling the water.”
Particle concentration ranged from “zero to more than 10,000 likely plastic particles in a single bottle,” said the report.
On average, plastic particles in the 100 micron (0.10 mm) size range — considered “microplastics” — were found at an average rate of 10.4 plastic particles per liter. Even smaller particles were more common — averaging about 325 per liter.
Jacqueline Savitz, chief policy officer for North America at Oceana, a marine advocacy group that was not involved in the research, said the study provides more evidence that society must abandon the ubiquitous use of plastic water bottles.
“We know plastics are building-up in marine animals, and this means we too are being exposed, some of us, every day,” she said.