by Kerry Sheridan
Plastic was identified
in 93 percent
the samples included in the study,
which included major name brands such as
Aqua, Aquafina, Dasani, Evian, Nestle Pure Life
and San Pellegrino
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
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
US-based non-profit media collective.
Researchers tested 250 bottles of water in,
the United States
Plastic was identified in
93 percent of the samples, which included major name brands
Nestle Pure Life
The plastic debris
...which is used to make
"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."
"zero to more than
10,000 likely plastic particles in a single bottle," said the
On average, plastic
particles in the 100 micron (0.10 millimeter) size range -
- were found at an average rate of 10.4 plastic particles per liter.
Even smaller particles were more common - averaging about 325 per
Other brands that were found to contain plastic contaminated
Experts cautioned that
the extent of the risk to human health posed by such contamination
connections to increases in certain kinds of cancer to lower
sperm count to increases in conditions like ADHD and autism,"
"We know that they are connected to these synthetic chemicals in
the environment and we know that plastics are providing kind of
a means to get those chemicals into our bodies."
Time to ditch
Previous research by Orb Media has found plastic particles in
tap water, too, but on a smaller scale.
"Tap water, by and
large, is much safer than bottled water," said Mason.
The three-month study (A
Rapid-screening Approach to Detect and Quantify Microplastics based
on Fluorescent Tagging with Nile Red) used a technique
developed by the University of East Anglia's School of Chemistry to
"see" microplastic particles by staining them using fluorescent
Nile Red dye, which makes plastic
fluorescent when irradiated with blue light.
"We have been
involved with independently reviewing the findings and
methodology to ensure the study is robust and credible," said
lead researcher Andrew Mayes, from UEA's School of Chemistry.
"The results stack up."
bottled water industry took issue
with the findings, saying they were not peer-reviewed and "not based
on sound science," according to a statement from the
International Bottled Water Association (IBWA).
"A recent scientific
study published in the peer-reviewed journal Water Research in
February 2018 concluded that no statistically relevant amount of
microplastic can be found in water in single-use plastic
bottles," it added.
"There is no scientific consensus on the potential health
impacts of microplastic particles. The data on the topic is
limited and conclusions differ dramatically from one study to
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.
"It's more urgent now than ever before to make plastic water
bottles a thing of the past."
Thomas Maes et al -
A Rapid-screening Approach to Detect and
Quantify Microplastics based on Fluorescent Tagging with Nile
Red - Scientific Reports (2017). DOI: