Nanoplastics Discovered in Bottled Water

The average liter of bottled water contains a quarter of a million microscopic pieces of plastic – and the researchers who made the discovery said that while it wasn’t dangerous, it had prompted them to reduce the amount of bottled water they drink.

Using laser-powered microscopes, researchers analyzed samples of bottled water from three brands and found that one liter contained 110,000 to 400,000 pieces of plastic per liter.

According to their findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, that’s an average of about 240,000 tiny plastic particles.

Although the brands analyzed were not identified, the study’s lead author, Naixin Qian, told NBC News that all three were common brands purchased at a major national retailer.

The study authors said that 90% of the plastic pieces were not microplastics, but nanoplastics, which are even smaller than microplastics and “believed to be more toxic because their smaller size means they are much more easily absorbed compared to microplastics.” “People get into their bodies,” the study says.

A liter of bottled water contains an average of 240,000 pieces of plastic.


As the National Library of Medicine explains, “Microplastics (MPs) are plastic particles less than 5 mm in diameter, while nanoplastics (NPs) are 1 to 100 or 1000 nm in diameter.” [nanometer].”

To put this size into perspective, there are 10 million nanometers in a centimeter.

The researchers assumed that the plastic came from the bottle itself and from the water company’s filter system, which is designed to remove pollutants.


Study co-author Phoebe Stapleton, a toxicologist, told NBC News that the possible health effects are “currently under review.” We don’t know if it’s dangerous or how dangerous.”

However, a study published in the National Library of Medicine states: “Results from cell and animal studies have shown that microplastics can affect various systems in the human body, including the digestive, respiratory, endocrine, reproductive and immune systems.”

This study also noted that “microplastics can cause chemical toxicity, leading to the absorption and accumulation of environmental toxins such as heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.”

Based on their findings, the researchers say they are reducing bottled water consumption: Stapleton told NBC News that she now relies on filtered tap water, and her colleague Wei Min, a chemist, said he has reduced his bottled water consumption.

The health effects of microplastics are still being investigated.


But as the study’s co-author, chemist Beizhan Yan, said, “there is simply no winning” because water filtration systems can introduce microplastics into the water supply.

Last August, microplastics were discovered in human heart tissue. And people were found to inhale the equivalent of a credit card-sized amount of microplastics per week, according to a June 2023 study reported in US News and World Report.

“We know that these microplastics are everywhere,” Albert Rizzo, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association, told National Geographic. “We don’t know if its presence in the body causes a problem.” Duration is very important. It depends on how long you’re exposed.”

“In the meantime,” he asked, “can we make plastics safer?”

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