Water from plastic bottles contains up to 100 times more tiny plastic particles than previously estimated, according to a new study published in the journal PNAS (New window) (in English).
Using an innovative technique, American scientists associated with Columbia University counted an average of 240,000 detectable plastic fragments per liter of water, after testing the product from several popular brands.
This study raises questions about potential health consequences.
If people are worried about nanoplastics in bottled water, it is reasonable to consider alternatives, such as tap water, Beizhan Yan, co-author of the paper, told AFP ;study.
We do not recommend not drinking bottled water when it comes to drinking. is necessary, as the risk of dehydration may be greater than the potential consequences of exposure to nanoplastics.
A quote from Beizhan Yan, Colombia University
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Nanoplastics have been attracting more and more attention in recent years, and are present everywhere on the planet.
Microplastics are less than 5,000 micrometers (or 5 millimeters), while nanoplastics are less than 27 ;a micrometer.
They are so small that they can enter the blood system and therefore even the organs, including the brain and the heart.
Research on their consequences on ecosystems and human health are still limited, but certain studies have already highlighted harmful effects, for example on the reproductive system.
For their study, the researchers used a brand new technique using lasers.
They tested three water brands, without revealing their names: We believe all bottled waters contain nanoplastics, so highlighting some of them might be considered unfair, Beizhan Yan explained.
The results showed that each liter contained between 110,000 and 370,000 particles per liter, of which 90% of nanoplastics, with the remainder being microplastics.
The most common type found was nylon – likely from plastic filters used to purify water ;water –, followed by polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which the bottles are made of.
Researchers hope for the future test tap water, which also contains microplastics, but a priori in smaller quantities.