Drinking water samples taken the tap in 14 countries revealed the almost systematic presence of plastic microparticles, according to a new US study.
For their work, researchers from the University of Minnesota and New York collected 159 samples in different countries including Uganda, India, Indonesia, Beirut, Ecuador and the United States.
Analysis by a University of Minnesota laboratory showed that “83% of the samples contained plastic particles,” the researchers said in a report titled Invisible: Plastic Inside Us.
The number of microplastics found per liter ranged from 0 to 57, with an average of more than four per liter, and their size varied from 0.1 to 5 millimeters.
Considering that a person drinks 2 to 3 liters of water per day, you could ingesting up to 4000 microparticles each year, estimated the researchers.
“The highest density of plastic was found in North America and the lowest in European countries,” they write.
The effects of the presence of these microparticles are still to be determined but the authors of the study emphasize that previous work has shown that they can spread chemicals and bacteria.
“These plastic particles (present in drinking water) are in addition to plastics potentially consumed in other products such as sea salt, beer or seafood,” the authors note, to investigate further the effects of this type of ingestion on human health.