The World Health Organization (WHO) is planning a review of the potential risks of plastic in bottled drinking water after researchers uncovered particles in many major brands. Currently, there is no research to show that microplastics can undermine health, but the WHO says it wants to find out if a lifetime of ingesting these tiny particles might have an effect.
The review comes after a study that screened more than 250 bottles of water from 11 different brands in 9 countries. They found that more than 90% contained tiny pieces of plastics and on average there were 325 pieces of plastics per liter. It is also important to note that the study has not been subjected to scientific peer review and has not been published in a journal.
Plastics have also been found in tap water, although the concentrations are about half of what has been found in bottled water in this study. And although the majority of plastic found in this study is polypropylene (the plastic used to make bottle caps for these water bottles), the researchers agree that plastic is widespread in our society and tiny plastic microfibers can easily travel airborne – so the higher concentrations could even be pulled into bottling plants from fans, or be carried on clothing being worn by plant workers.
The researchers want to make clear that they are not blaming anyone, but trying to create awareness of the amount of plastics we use. Sherri Mason, a professor of chemistry at SUNY Fredonia, who contributed to the study, told the BBC, “It’s not about pointing fingers at particular brands; it’s really showing that this is everywhere, that plastic has become such a pervasive material in our society, and it’s pervading water – all of these products that we consume at a very basic level.”
This is just another reason to stop buying and using plastic water bottles. Here are some other reasons from www.banthebottle.net on why we should say no to plastic bottles.
• Making bottles to meet America’s demand for bottled water uses more than 17 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel 1.3 million cars for a year. And that’s not even including the oil used for transportation.
• The energy we waste using bottled water would be enough to power 190,000 homes. Last year, the average American used 167 disposable water bottles, but only recycled 38.3.
Americans used about 50 billion plastic water bottles last year. However, the U.S.’s recycling rate for plastic is only 23%, which means 38 billion water bottles – more than $1 billion worth of plastic – are wasted each year.
• The recommended eight glasses of water a day, at U.S. tap rates equals about $.49 per year; that same amount of bottled water is about $1,400.
• Ditching bottled water keeps Mother Earth and your wallet green. One water pitcher filter can effectively replace as much as 300 standard 16.9-ounce bottles. So you can get great-tasting water without so much waste.
Buy a good quality water bottle and carry it with you!
Photo from here, with thanks.