Plastic particles contaminate top bottle water brands

The development comes a day after a report said leading brands of bottled water were contaminated with tiny plastic particles

The development comes a day after a report said leading brands of bottled water were contaminated with tiny plastic particles

Polypropylene - the type of plastic used to make bottle caps - was the most common type of plastic fragment found (54%) while nylon was the second-most abundant (16%). The researchers said the tiny particles of plastic likely were introduced into the water from the bottle, the cap, as well as the bottling process.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on Friday said the findings of a US-based NGO about microplastics contamination in bottled water in India were not alarming as there was no known health hazards due to it.

"I think it is coming through the process of bottling the water", said Sherri Mason of the State University of NY.

The study has prompted the World Health Organization to launch an investigation into the health risks associated with drinking water contaminated with microplastics, the BBC reports, noting that there is now no research that concludes that ingesting microplastics poses a danger to health.

The study has not been published in a journal and has not been through scientific peer review.

Over 250 of the top bottled water brands were tested in nine countries, including Lebanon, India, and the United States, during a research project commissioned by journalism organisation Orb Media and led by Sherri Mason, a professor of chemistry at the State University of NY in Fredonia.

According to a WHO spokesperson, while there was not yet any evidence on impact on human health, the organisation was aware it was an emerging area of concern.

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The spokesman said the World Health Organization would "review the very scarce available evidence with the objective of identifying evidence gaps, and establishing a research agenda to inform a more thorough risk assessment".

The brand Boxed Water contained an average of 58.6 plastic fibres per litre.

"Plastic microfibres are easily airborne. It could come in from fans or the clothing being worn", she said.

Most bottled water companies stood by their methods for testing and filtering water, and experts still recommend bottled water where tap water is unsafe to drink.

"Some of these particles are so incredibly small they can make their way across the gastro-intestinal tract, across the lining and be carried throughout the body, and we don't know the implications of what that means on our various organs and tissues."

What we do know is that scientists are plenty concerned about the microplastics being swallowed by marine life. For example, Nestlé believes that Orb's technique for measuring microplastics has the potential to "generate false positives". Sherri Mason told the BBC. "Why can't we have just clean, pure water?".

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