We’ve witnessed an influx of bottled water brands like Evian, Fiji, Voss, SmartWater, Aquafina, and Dasani, enticing consumers despite studies debunking claims of superiority over tap water. Americans continue to spend billions on bottled water, citing convenience, taste, and perceived safety. However, a recent study on nanoplastics found in three popular bottled water brands adds a new layer to the ongoing debate between bottled and tap water.
Researchers from Columbia University employed innovative laser-guided technology to detect previously undetected nanoplastics due to their incredibly small size. In contrast to a 2018 study that identified about 300 plastic particles per liter of bottled water, the latest study uncovered an average of 240,000 nanoplastic particles per liter across three undisclosed brands. The nanoplastics identified included polyamide, polypropylene, polyethylene, polymethyl methacrylate, polyvinyl chloride, polystyrene, and polyethylene terephthalate.
Nanoplastics, smaller than microplastics and invisible to the naked eye, raise concerns due to their potential to infiltrate human cells and disrupt cellular processes. Despite being found in the human placenta, lung tissues, feces, and blood, the health implications remain uncertain. Key questions linger about the threshold for nanoplastic harm, the potential types of damage or diseases they might induce, and whether their effects are cumulative.
While the study primarily focused on bottled water, often packaged in plastic, the origin of these nanoplastics remains murky. Bottling processes, plastic filters, and packaging are all potential contributors. Although further research is needed to fully grasp the implications of nanoplastics in water, the revelation of hundreds of thousands of these particles in bottled water provides another compelling reason to opt for the safer and more sustainable choice of tap water.
Columbia researchers found that bottled water contains hundreds of thousands of previously uncounted plastic particles—particles small enough to pass into the bloodstream and travel directly into our organs.https://t.co/NoC70dLakV
— Columbia University (@Columbia) January 25, 2024