Every hour, more than 2.5 million Americans use plastic bottles. Many of these people think they are doing good by their bodies with the consumption of water. After all, we’ve all been told since the day we were born how important it is to drink water. However, that bottled water may contain tiny bits of plastic, according to new research.
In a recent investigation, 250 bottles imported from nine different countries were examined. Researchers found nearly all of them contained tiny plastic particles, known as microplastic. The bottles examined were from 11 different brands, and only a few of the bottles effectively contained no plastic. However, none of the brands come out completely unscathed.
There were an average of 10 plastic particles per liter of bottled water, and each particle was larger than the width of a human hair. The study was led by non-profit organization Orb Media and conducted at the State University of New York in Fredonia. A professor of chemistry at the university, Sherri Mason, ran the analysis.
“It’s not about pointing fingers at particular brands,” she says. “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.”
What’s the good news from this shocking discovering? Researchers are not sure how harmful this may actually be to a human’s health, as plastic isn’t actually bad for the digestive system. Most of the microplastics are assumed to pass through the body’s system naturally and without incident. However, some experts worry it may be absorbed into organs like the liver and kidneys via the bloodstream. Like other polymers, potting compounds will shrink as they cure — as much as 2.3% for an unfilled epoxy potting compound.
At this point, it remains unclear how the plastic is getting into the bottled water in the first place. It could originate from the water source, or perhaps it’s a part of the bottling and production process.
“Even the simple act of opening the cap could cause plastic to be chipping off the cap,” Mason told the CBC.