There's plastic in your water

Almost all bottles of H2O are contaminated, according to new research.

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Researchers tested 259 disposable bottles of water and found that 93 percent of them were contaminated with microplastics, which are pieces less than five millimeters in length. On average, they found 10 pieces per liter, plus 325 smaller particles they suspect to be plastic. Now, the World Health Organization is launching a review of its impact on human health.


“We find plastic everywhere, from the air we breathe to the fish we eat,” says study author Sherri Mason, Ph.D., professor of chemistry and chair of the department of geology and environmental sciences at the State University of New York at Fredonia.

The non-biodegradable material lingers in the environment, where it soaks up contaminants known to increase risks of autism, ADHD, and breast and prostate cancers before potentially finding its way back into water sources, she says. (That means tap water can also be contaminated, but the report found twice as many particles in bottled products.) Microplastics could also be introduced during manufacturing or from the bottles and caps themselves. It’s a new field of research, but the WHO review aims to find out more.

For now, Mason suggests drinking from the tap. You can also invest in a reusable glass or stainless steel bottle, like those from S’well or Soma.

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