Bottled water with microplastics on sale in Portugal

Laverne Higgins
March 18, 2018

Over 250 of the top bottled water brands were tested in nine countries, including Lebanon, India, and the United States, during a research project commissioned by journalism organisation Orb Media and led by Sherri Mason, a professor of chemistry at the State University of NY in Fredonia.

It will take further research to know exactly what to make of the findings, but what's clear is that despite its better reputation, bottled water is not necessarily purer than the tap.

The study states that the researchers discovered 10 tiny plastic particles per litre of water in extremely small forms which made it hard to identify.

Microplastics contaminate almost all bottled water from major brands around the world.

"All Bisleri production facilities have their own quality testing labs that ensure that every Bisleri product is made as per guidelines set by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and WHO (World Health Organisation)".

The results of the survey are alarming, 90 percent of bottled water contains tiny bits of plastic.

Sherri Mason, a professor of chemistry at the [State University of NY in Fredonia], conducted the analysis and told BBC News: "We found [plastic] in bottle after bottle and brand after brand".

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Researcher Sherri Mason of the State University of NY at Fredonia told AFP that 65% of the plastic particles found were "fragments" of plastic, and included the plastic used to make some bottle caps.

A study examining 11 brands of bottled water sold around the world has found that almost every sample tested was contaminated by plastic particles. "We found [plastic] in bottle after bottle and brand after brand", Prof. "I think that most of the plastic that we are seeing is coming from the bottle itself".

Including India, the samples came from 19 locations in nine countries in five continents besides Brazil, China, Indonesia, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Thailand, and the US. It is coming from the cap.

"Bisleri water undergoes a stringent 10-step purification process".

It is these concerns that have prompted the World Health Organization to launch a review into the potential risks of plastic in drinking water. Jane Muncke, chief scientist at the Food Packaging Forum, a Zurich-based research organization, told Orb Media that most of what is understood about ingesting plastics comes from models, not experiments, and that these don't account for things like possible chemical interactions from the plastic.

"There are connections to increases in certain kinds of cancer to lower sperm count to increases in conditions like ADHD and autism", said Mason. This is twice the amount of microplastics found in tap water according to a previous study.

"Some of these particles are so incredibly small they can make their way across the gastro-intestinal tract, across the lining and be carried throughout the body, and we don't know the implications of what that means on our various organs and tissues."

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