Your bottled water may contain hundreds of little pieces of plastic

New research shows the bottled water labeled “clean” and “pure” you are buying from grocery stores actually has hundreds of tiny pieces of plastic in it. The discovery now has a world health group studying what this could mean.

The research started after a group in SUNY Fredonia, a university in New York, found microplastics in tap water. Bottled water is just bottled tap water, so the researchers wanted to find out if the water still had just as much plastic in it. Instead, they found more.

Americans drink about 50 billion bottles of water a year. Researchers examined 259 bottles from 11 brands of water and found microplastics in 93 percent of them.

“Microplastics are just really any piece of plastic that is smaller than one millimeter in size,” said SUNY Fredonia professor and researcher Sherri Mason. “So think of a period at the end of the sentence or a grain of salt or a grain of sand.”

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The team found twice as much plastic in bottled water when compared to tap water.

Evian had up to 256 pieces of plastic. Dasani had as many as 300 pieces. Aquafina came up with nearly 1,300 pieces of plastic and one bottle of Nestle Pure Life clocked in with more than 10,000 pieces.

“On average within every liter of bottled water we tested we found 325 pieces of microplastic,” Mason said.

The World Health Organization responded to the research fast. It immediately launched an investigation into the health risks of these microplastics.

FOX13’s sister station in Pittsburgh, WPXI, went to Pittsburgh Poison Control to see what local health experts thought of the find,

“I couldn’t say that we can prove that it is harmful, but we certainly can’t prove that it isn’t either,” said toxicologist Michael Lynch.

Lynch told WPXI it depends on the amount of plastic you’re ingesting. He thinks it is unlikely such small pieces could cause health problems, but it is too soon to tell.

“I think really that’s what this comes down to is just knowledge and understanding and allowing people to make their decisions,” Lynch said.

Researchers say the plastic found in tap water is a kind of plastic believed to come from the air. The plastic found in the bottled water testing is the same kind used to make the bottle and cap.

“What it is telling me is that the plastic is getting into the water through the actual industrial process of bottling the water,” Mason said.

Coca-Cola, the maker of Dasani, did not comment on the research. Neither did Pepsi, the maker of Aquafina.

Nestle claims its water testing is more advanced than the testing used by the researchers and says it has equipment to remove any contaminants.

Mason said she didn’t do the research to expose particular brands of bottled water. She wanted to prove how common plastic had become these days in the things we drink and eat.

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